M&S offloading final stocks as Chinese retreat begins

Marks & Spencer has reportedly begun slashing prices on lingerie and other clothing items at its sole store in Beijing as it prepares to retreat from the Chinese retail market.

The British retailer only launched the Beijing store just over a year ago, but it is understood that the doors will close on March 19.

Local reports suggest that with just a few weeks to go, the shelves will not be restocked and there are huge bargains to be had on clothing. In some cases up to 40% is currently being offered off the purchase price.

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Beijing is one of 10 stores that M&S operates in mainland China and all will be axed following a comprehensive review of its international business last year.

While its wholly-owned business is profitable in Hong Kong, the 10 stores in mainland China, where it employs 440 staff, continue to make a loss.

Adam Colton, managing director of Greater China at Marks & Spencer, said at the end of last year: “Our review has shown that our stores in mainland China continue to make losses and as result we can no longer trade with a store presence in the Chinese market.”

Customers across China will continue to be able to source Marks & Spencer products via popular market places, TMall.com and JD.com while the group reviews “the best way to retain its online presence in China”, Colton added.

Marks & Spencer is also closing more than 40 stores in France, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, the Netherlands, Belgium and Estonia as part of a revamped overseas strategy that will see a greater focus on JVs and franchise partnerships in future.

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