Mukesh Ambani with Marks & Spencer Looking at 8 More Stores in India

Marks & Spencer which entered India through a joint venture with Reliance Industries, is all set to open more company-owned stores, and reposition itself as a mid-market aspirational brand. The iconic British retailer is also betting big on overseas markets especially India and China for a turnaround. On a visit to India Sir Stuart Rose, non-executive chairman of M&S stated that their brand positioning here would be the same as in the UK. He said the company is working hard to win the Indian consumer.

M&S which holds 51 per cent stake in the JV with Reliance is planning to open 50 stores by 2014. According to its, chief executive in India, Mark Ashman, the company plans to open six to eight outlets in the next fiscal. For the new stores, M&S is looking at an area of over 25,000 sq. ft. The focus will be on big stores so that they can put their entire catalogue. The JV was set up to sell items such as apparels and household equipment.

Sir Stuart Rose flew to Mumbai for a meeting with the chairman of the Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani, an M&S partner.“Mark Bolland, our new chief executive, is very keen to grow the overseas market, and India is just top of the list,” said Sir Stuart, who although has decided to step down, remains the chairman of M&S, during the visit. “In fact, I have been discussing with Mr. Ambani about the need to get aggressive and both of us are looking to have several more stores.”

In 2008, the UK-based supermarket chain launched in a joint venture with Reliance Industries. “There’s a real difference when you put people on the ground who really understand the brand and what the customer is looking for, and there is a different mindset when you invest your own money”, says Mark Ashman, the chief executive of the Reliance joint venture. India is not a panacea or an easy win. It takes time, and you have to understand that.”

M&S is UK’s leading retailer that sells high quality, great value clothing and home products, as well as outstanding quality food. Reliance Retail Limited (RRL), a subsidiary of India’s biggest corporate house Reliance Industries Limited, was set up to lead Reliance Group’s foray into organized retail with a vision to generate inclusive growth and prosperity for farmers, vendor partners, small shopkeepers and consumers. Keeping in line with its commitment of providing customers with best quality products, RRL has forged strategic partnerships with world-class companies such as Marks & Spencer (apparel and accessories), Office Depot (office stationery), Pearle Europe (optical products) and Hamleys (toys).



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