| 3 March 2024, Sunday |

Marks & Spencer blames Brexit as it closes 11 French stores

UK retail giant Marks & Spencer has said it is shutting down 11 of its French stores because of problems supplying them with fresh and chilled foods since Brexit.

M&S said all 11 franchise stores it operated with partner SFH in France would shut by the end of this year.

M&S said supply chain problems since Brexit had made it “near impossible” to maintain standards of food supply.

Nine M&S stores run at French travel hubs will continue to operate.

“M&S has a long history of serving customers in France and this is not a decision we or our partner SFH have taken lightly,” said Paul Friston, M&S managing director of international.

“However, as things stand today, the supply chain complexities in place following the UK’s exit from the European Union now make it near impossible for us to serve fresh and chilled products to customers to the high standards they expect, resulting in an ongoing impact to the performance of our business.

“With no workable alternative for the High Street stores, we have agreed with SFH to close all 11 franchised stores.”

Its French online operation, which sells mainly clothing and home products, will not be affected by the closures.