Marks & Spencer is set to step up its international expansion by opening stores in Scandinavia for the first time.
The retailer is to launch 15 stores in Finland and Norway as part of a franchise agreement.
M&S will kick off the expansion with the launch of a flagship shop in Helsinki next month and in Oslo in late November.
The news follows the announcement in April that the retailer would open flagship stores in key cities in India, Western Europe and the Middle East, with the aim of growing its international sales by 25%.
Francois Smeyers, regional director of Europe at M&S, commented: “Expanding our reach to Scandinavia, which we see as an important international market for us, is a central part of our ongoing international growth strategy in Europe and we are delighted to be opening our first stores in the region over the next few months.”
In Finland, Marks & Spencer has teamed up with franchise partner S Group, the leading retailer in the country and owner of the Sokos chain of department stores.
In Norway, M&S will also open its first stores in partnership with POCOS Group, the owners of 150 stores across Scandinavia.
Tristan Rogers, CEO of Concrete, which advises retailers on international expansion, said Scandinavia is a natural next step for a retailer that is looking to capitalise on the increased consumer appetite in the region.
“By taking the franchise route with partnerships with S Group and Pocos Group, M&S will gain the support and local expertise that is needed to perform well in this new marketplace. However, M&S must also make sure it has effective planning, communication and collaboration processes in place to ensure that all areas of the brand are linked up for the roll-out of new stores,” he added.
“Having personally seen the M&S team’s passion for modern ways of working, adopting Enterprise Collaboration to benefit the speed and timeliness of its store-level investments, as well as underpin its fast-growing international expansion, I have no doubt that this Scandinavian adventure will be a successful one.”