Marks & Spencer to open flagship stores in Beijing

British department store chain Marks & Spencer has announced that five stores will close in the greater Shanghai region as the company refocuses on expanding in other major Chinese cities.

The announcement follows the departure of company executive Bruce Findlay, the former regional director of Asia for Marks & Spencer who has joined another retailer in Asia, reported Reuters.

Marks & Spencer entered China in 2008, putting roots down in Shanghai where the company now operates 15 stores. Although China, India, Russia and the Middle East remain an expansion priority for the retailer, Marks & Spencer has yet to make a satisfactory impact in China.

As part of its growth strategy, the retailer plans to look for potential local partners. Other retailers have recently established partnerships in China to expand their reach in Asia. One such company is Gap (NYSE:GPS), which at the close of 2014 teamed up with China's JD.com to sell apparel on the Beijing-based e-commerce site.

Five stores in the greater Shanghai area will close by August, affecting roughly 60 jobs as well as the size of the main office. The retailer will enter Beijing and Guangzhou in 2015 as it continues to further the brand online and invest in Hong Kong, where it currently operates 18 wholly owned stores and four stand-alone food stores.

Marks & Spencer has been rebuilding its international presence after closing all of its non-U.K. and Irish stores in 2001. After a 10-year absence, the retailer opened a concept store in Amsterdam in 2013, which sells food and women's clothing and is largely a showplace for the chain's omnichannel efforts.

For more:
-See this Reuters article

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