Marks and Spencer takes on German market
The British retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) is to launch a fresh assault on the German market, following the 2001 closure of its continental stores due to poor sales figures.
But the retail giant is confident that the German online market shows signs of greater potential, and on Thursday announced plans for a localised German customer website, to be unveiled on November 19.
The company has been delivering to the country since 2008, and Germans are already among its top international customers. But Laura Wade-Gery, executive director of the chain's e-commerce strategy, sees opportunity not only in the Germans’ attraction to the "traditional British style", but also in their extensive use of online shopping.
"Germany has developed into one of the leading e-commence markets in the world in recent years," she said in a company statement. "The Germans value above all the comfort and the simplicity of online shopping services."
The new website aims to exploit Germany’s online potential by offering a dedicated German-language sales platform for 15,000 items, with prices in euros.
It is part of a broader strategy for the retailer, which is attempting to strengthen its international position and reduce its dependence on UK economic cycles.
"This is us moving forward with our plan to transform M&S from traditional British retailer to a leading international, multi-channel retailer," added M&S CEO Marc Bolland. "M&S is a brand that's synonymous with British quality, style and value and this move enables us to extend the reach of our brand to more new markets."
Local platforms in Spain, Belgium, and Austria will be launched simultaneously, following the introduction of websites in France and Ireland.