Bruce Findlay, regional director for Asia is stepping down

Bruce Findlay, regional director for Asia is stepping down

UK retailer Marks & Spencer is to close five of its stores in Shanghai and has confirmed its head of Asia is to step down.

As part of a review of its plans for China, M&S said it has taken the decision to close five of its supporting stores in the greater Shanghai region by August. It has also reviewed its head office resource structure in line with growth plans.

This has resulted in Bruce Findlay, regional director for Asia, stepping down after less than two years in the role. A spokesperson for the retailer said a departure date had not yet been agreed.

The company currently operates 15 stores in the greater Shanghai region, having entered China in 2008.

Despite the closures, however, M&S said it has a firm intent to enter key cities such as Beijing and Guangzhou this year and next. And it will continue to invest in its existing flagship store portfolio with a “complete modernisation” of its flagship store on West Nanjing Road in Shanghai during the autumn.

Continuing its ‘bricks & clicks’ strategy, the retailer said it is leveraging e-commerce to strengthen brand awareness and reach across the country. Long-term, it is also in the process of evaluating potential partners.

As part of its expansion, M&S will also open a store in Macau in November.

In line with its international strategy to focus on its flagship stores, the retailer said it will also invest in modernising its stores in Hong Kong during 2015/16.

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, Marks & Spencer’s executive director, marketing & 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.”