Marks & Spencer is anticipating a spike in international lingerie sales over the next few years after revealing plans to step up its retail expansion activities in its largest overseas market.
The retailer confirmed this week that it has an aggressive store roll-out strategy in place for India, where lingerie sales count for as much as a fifth of its business.
M&S has opened 12 new stores in India already this year, taking its footprint to 50 branches nationwide. Next year it intends to reach 100 stores in the country.
More significantly, the retailer reportedly intends to “redouble” its efforts in lingerie as part of the growth plan.
M&S opened a 4,800-square-foot standalone lingerie and beauty store in Mumbai last year and is said to be pleased with how the format is performing. Of the 50 new stores it is preparing to open, almost 20 will be lingerie and beauty stores.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, M&S’ head of international business, Bousquet-Chavanne, hailed lingerie as one of the company’s best-performing categories in India, making up roughly 20% of revenue there.
“I think there is an instinctive understanding of M&S in India,” he said. “We’ve been encouraged by the performance of stores we have opened in the past year.”
According to the paper, the lingerie market in India is on an upwards trajectory at the moment, with figures for the period between 2009 and 2013 showing industry growth of 17%.