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Marks & Spencer to close 11 French stores amid Brexit border disruption

By Huw Hughes

16 Sept 2021


Image: Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer is to close all 11 of its franchise stores with partner SFH in France in the coming months amid disruption caused by new Brexit border checks.

The retailer said the decision comes as “lengthy and complex export processes” are “significantly constraining the supply of fresh and chilled product from the UK into Europe and continuing to impact product availability for customers and the performance of our business in France”.

The new checks on exports from the UK to Europe came into place at the beginning of the year following the UK’s departure from the EU, while further checks on imports coming from Europe to the UK will come into effect next year.

The retailer said its nine franchise stores with partner Lagardere Travel Retail continue to trade and “both parties continue to work closely on a sustainable future business model”.

Meanwhile, Marks & Spencer’s flagship website in France, which is run by Marks & Spencer and sells mostly clothing and home products, has not been impacted by the announcement.

Marks & Spencer managing director of international Paul Friston said the company had “a long history of serving customers in France” and that the decision to close the stores wasn’t “taken lightly”.

“However, as things stand today, the supply chain complexities in place following the UK’s exit from the European Union, now make it near impossible for us to serve fresh and chilled products to customers to the high standards they expect, resulting in an ongoing impact to the performance of our business,” Friston said.

“With no workable alternative for the high street stores, we have agreed with SFH to close all 11 franchised stores.”