The Indian arm of the British multinational retailer Marks and Spencer said that it has robust growth plans to ramp up stores in India amid reports of outlet closure back home due to challenging times. Marks and Spencer in India is a 51:49 JV between UK's M&S and Reliance since 2008.
The company denied reports of foraying into the food business in India, terming them as speculative, and said, it will focus on the home category, launched recently.
Ritesh Mishra, MD, M&S Reliance India, said,"We will turbocharge our growth in India. We want to make sure customers get value in our apparel and home products."
The company has plans to open one store a month, he added.
Mishra was in the city to open the company's 95th store and third in Kolkata. All stores in India are company owned and it does not have any franchise stores. M&S UK has 427 stores in international operations including franchisees and JVs.
M&S UK recently informed investors it is highly likely that conditions will become more challenging in FY'24 across all markets. Mishra said that with the inclusion of home category products, the retailer was focusing on larger store formats like 15,000 square feet in tier I cities and about 12,000 sq ft in tier II cities.
Positioning the brand in the mid-to-premium segment, the company said it remains open to evaluating new categories like furniture in the home front besides more products for women and winter wears.
"There is opportunity and potential in the furniture segment but right now we are working on strengthening our existing product portfolio in the home segment which includes kitchen, bathroom, bedding, and home accessories. We may look at furniture and lighting moving forward," he said.
Lingerie and women's wear account for 60 percent of the company's sales in India. Without going into financial numbers, Mishra said M&S India is the second largest international operation in terms of revenue for M&S outside the UK. M&S India expects nearly one-third of its business to come from digital channels in the future from the current 25 percent.