Marks & Spencer (M&S) has signed an agreement with its long-term franchise partner Voici La Mode Group, for the purchase of three M&S owned stores in Romania and to be the new franchisee for M&S in the Romanian market.
As a press release informs, the move follows Marks & Spencer’s strategic review of its International business in November 2016, which proposed M&S operates with fewer wholly-owned markets and has a greater focus on its established joint venture and franchise partnerships.
“In November we set out our plans to create a more sustainable, profitable and customer-focused International business for M&S by focussing on our established partnerships. Over the last fifty years we’ve built a strong franchise business with Voici La Mode Group in Cyprus and we are looking forward to working together to continue to serve our customers in Romania. It is never easy to make decisions which impact our people and we would like to thank our employees in Romania for their professionalism and patience throughout this process,” Jonathan Glenister, Marks & Spencer’s International Retail Director, said.
The review included proposals to close Marks & Spencer’s six stores in Romania and as part of the comprehensive consultation process, Marks & Spencer has been exploring opportunities to find a commercially viable alternative on the proposals with potential third parties.
Marks & Spencer and Voici La Mode Group have agreed the terms of the sale and are now entering a final period to complete the sale, which includes final discussions with landlords and the operational preparation for the transfer.
Voici La Mode Group has agreed to take over three Marks & Spencer stores located at Plaza Romania, Bucharest Mall and Feeria. These stores will continue to trade as normal during the final period before the sale completes.
“We are very happy to extend our 57-year partnership with Marks & Spencer and would like to thank M&S for the trust they place in us by appointing Voici La Mode Group as its franchisee in Romania. Our business plan includes the taking over of three existing M&S stores and the opening of new M&S stores in prime locations. We will focus on re-establishing Marks & Spencer as the go to destination in Romania for high quality, great value products,” Artemis Antoniadou, CEO of Voici La Mode Group, stated.
Marks & Spencer has not been able to find a viable alternative for its remaining three stores located at Iasi, Mega Mall Bucharest, City Park Constanta and as a result, M&S has made the decision to close the stores in the autumn.