- M&S expected to close stores and may even stop selling its popular sandwiches
- An announcement could be made in the next few weeks, the MoS understands
- M&S been holding talks with its French franchise partners over the drastic steps
- Marks & Spencer is poised to scale back its French business after stringent European border restrictions left its Paris shops with empty shelves.
Britain’s biggest high street retailer is expected to close stores and may even stop selling its popular sandwiches and chilled food in France altogether.
An announcement could be made in the next few weeks, The Mail on Sunday understands.
M&S has been holding talks with its French franchise partners over the drastic steps after border controls following Brexit delayed lorries and left hundreds of tons of food wasted.
The forced retreat will come as a blow to M&S, which relaunched its French business to much fanfare almost exactly a decade ago.
At the time, its bosses hailed the return with one, the former chairman Lord Rose, bemoaning a previous retreat in 2001 as ‘tragic’.
But the latest plan puts the future of the 20 stores, mostly in Paris, in doubt. The extent of closures is not yet clear, with the final decision on which stores remain resting in part on the commitment of its two French franchise partners.
Earlier this year, M&S overhauled its Czech operation, removing all its fresh and chilled foods from stores and replacing them with expanded ranges of products that have a long shelf life in order to fill gaps.