End of former chief's 'ego trip'

Marks & Spencer ‘to close Paris store’ in cutback plan

M&S labelMarks & Spencer is to close its department store on the Champs-Elysees in Paris as new chief executive Steve Rowe scales back its operations, according to reports.

The closure is expected to be announced when he updates investors on its international business on 8 November.

Shutting stores would confirm speculation earlier this year as Mr tackles ongoing cost issues at the high street chain.

Marc Bolland M&S vidThe Paris store was opened by Mr Rowe’s predecessor Marc Bolland (right) soon after he joined in 2010.

But it has been described as an ego trip which cost the company a lot of money.

Closing it will be part of a wider cost-cutting strategy which includes 525 head office job losses and changing the hours worked by store staff.

M&S has already cancelled plans to open a store in Amsterdam as profit at the company’s international business fell 37% last year.

With the company’s shares down by 25% shareholders have been agitating for change, including a reduction or even complete withdrawal of its international operations.

M&S has 480 stores across 59 countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

It first left France in 2001 but Mr Bolland as keen to expand its international footprint. He wanted to open 250 overseas stores and grow international earnings by 40%.

Retail analyst Richard Hyman told Bloomberg: “The Champs Elysees store cost them a fortune and was opened as part of an ego trip. Steve Rowe is a very down to earth and pragmatic guy. He’s made it clear there are no sacred cows at M&S.”

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