High street giant Marks and Spencer has invested over £11.5 million on a joint project with retail partner COMS, this opens the door for expansion in Eastern and Central Europe.
M&S have acquired a majority share of COMS (roughly 51%) who they will pay a cash dividend of around £4 million based on business performance and meeting of agreed targets.
The plans over the next few years is to open 30 Marks and Spencer stores in in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia adding to the 13 that COMS already operates.
Carl Leaver, director of international business at M&S, said:
“There is a great opportunity to open many more Marks & Spencer stores across Central and Eastern Europe and grow a real presence in the region. The Marks & Spencer brand is already well-recognised in the Czech Republic and there is increasing demand for good quality, great value products in markets like Slovakia. We have worked with the COMS team since 1996 and their retail expertise and local knowledge make them the ideal partner.”
Dušan Mrozek, chairman of the board of directors at COMS, said:
“We have worked with Marks & Spencer since 1996 and during that time we have always felt we’ve been working with the right partner. We are therefore pleased that we have successfully completed broader discussions and will now set up a joint venture. We look forward to expanding our business across the region to strengthen our market position.”
These latest developments continue the mission to grow the company’s international business to a fifth of total M&S group revenues.