M&S declined to comment on reports it is looking to open its first stores in Australia

M&S declined to comment on reports it is looking to open its first stores in Australia

UK retailer Marks & Spencer has remained tight-lipped on reports it is looking to enter Australia with the opening of its first stores this year. 

According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, the company has appointed two new directors of a previously dormant firm Marks & Spencer (Australia).

However, when contacted by just-style today (29 January), a spokesperson for M&S said: "We would never comment on rumour and speculation."

M&S operates over 770 stores in the UK, and more than 430 international stores across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

If M&S is gearing up to enter the Australian market, it will face competition from Swedish fashion clothing retailer Hennes & Maurtiz (H&M), which last year revealed plans to open its first store in the country. 

Japan's Fast Retailing, meanwhile, is set to open its first Uniqlo store in Australia this spring as part of its ongoing international expansion efforts.

Earlier this month, M&S reported another decline in general merchandise sales, despite seeing early signs of improvement in its women's wear business.

Analysts have raised a question mark over how successful M&S's general merchandise strategy is, noting the pace of change for clothing needs to go "further and faster".