Marks & Spencer is boosting its bricks and clicks strategy in China, as it looks to use ecommerce to strengthen awareness of its brand across the country.
The retailer said today that a review of its growth strategy for China meant it would now invest in its Shanghai flagship store while closing five supporting stores. It will open new stores in Beijing and Guangzhou this year and next, supported by a strategic approach to 'bricks and clicks'.
M&S said that in the last quarter its existing online stores on third-party Chinese websites have gained in popularity. Sales on TMall.com were up by 200% compared to the same time last year. M&S has now launched a dedicated kidswear store on TMall.com and a new clothing store on JD.com.
Meanwhile, the company aims to open new food stores in Hong Kong while opening a new store in Macau's Venetian Mall.
Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, Marks & Spencer’s executive director for marketing and international, said: “Last year, we reaffirmed our commitment to our Greater Chinese business and set out clear strategic plans. Today we can share more details of our continued investment across our priority markets of China, Hong Kong and Macau. This includes the modernisation of our flagship stores, entering new key cities, growing our Hong Kong Food store portfolio and expanding our reach across China through new sites on TMall.com and JD.com.”
M&S opened its first store in China in 2008, and launched its flagship online store on TMall.com in January 2013, selling both clothing and food. A wine e-store opened on JD.com in May 2014.
The retailer currently has 840 UK stores and more than 480 international stores across 59 territories in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Its bricks and clicks strategy sees it sell online and from flagship stores in cities including Paris and Amsterdam.