Britain’s M&S blames Brexit for closing French food stores By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A girl walks previous a Marks & Spencer retailer on Oxford Road, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19), in London, Britain, July 20, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photograph

LONDON (Reuters) -British retailer Marks & Spencer (OTC:) mentioned it will shut all 11 French franchise meals shops it runs with its accomplice SFH as a result of commerce guidelines in place since Britain left the European Union had hammered product availability.

M&S mentioned on Thursday that its remaining 9 French franchise shops, run with Lagardere Journey Retail, will proceed to commerce and the pair had been engaged on a sustainable future enterprise mannequin.

Chairman Archie Norman has complained for months that M&S was struggling to get items into Eire and France since Britain left the EU single market at the start of the yr, because of the large quantity of additional paperwork.

“M&S has a protracted historical past of serving clients in France and this isn’t a choice we or our accomplice SFH have taken flippantly,” Paul Friston, M&S’ worldwide director, mentioned.

“As issues stand at this time, the availability chain complexities in place following the UK’s exit from the European Union, now make it close to not possible for us to serve contemporary and chilled merchandise to clients to the excessive requirements they anticipate, leading to an ongoing impression to the efficiency of our enterprise,” he added.

The 11 shops that can shut by the top of this yr are positioned predominantly throughout the excessive streets of Paris, whereas the 9 run by Lagardere are positioned in journey hubs corresponding to airports, railway and metro stations.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended the Brexit course of.

“We imagine that the method now we have taken is the right one. It’s one thing that the general public voted for and it’s already bringing advantages to the general public,” the spokesperson mentioned.

The federal government had additionally offered vital funding, recommendation and help all through the Brexit interval so firms may put together and perceive the adjustments, they added.

In April, M&S reconfigured its meals enterprise within the Czech Republic to take away provide chain dangers. It took all contemporary and chilled merchandise from its shops, and doubled ranges of frozen and ambient merchandise.

Final month, M&S upgraded its revenue outlook after a soar in demand for meals in its dwelling market and a surge in on-line garments gross sales indicated that its newest turnaround plan was beginning to ship.

M&S shares had been down 2% at 1237 GMT, paring their 2021 positive aspects to 33.6%.

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