We’re not sure at this stage whether this is a good or bad news story for Brit expats living in Hong Kong, but UK retail giant Marks & Spencer has confirmed the sale of its 27 stores in Hong Kong and Macau to its long-term franchise partner, Al-Futtaim.
Al-Futtaim, a global trading business head-quartered in Dubai, has partnered with M&S since 1998 when it opened Dubai’s first Marks & Spencer store. This latest sale was completed on December 30 for an undisclosed sum. The stores will keep the M&S name under the franchise agreement and the sale means Al-Futtaim now operates 72 Marks & Spencer stores across 11 markets in Asia and the Middle East.
The sale follows a strategic review of M&S’s international business in 2016 which has so far resulted in the shuttering of 53 loss-making outlets in markets including China and northern Europe. The UK retailer entered the Hong Kong market in 1988, but
following foreign business losses of $43 million last year, it now aims to place a greater focus on established franchise and joint venture partnerships and pull back from wholly-owned markets.
This latest sale leaves overseas M&S-wholly owned stores in just Ireland and the Czech Republic.