Marks & Spencer's Thailand-based franchisee, Suvimol Co, is to take the business online once it gets the all clear from M&S head office, reported The Nation newspaper.

Lida Singratanakul, managing director of Suvimol, a business unit of Central Retail Corp (CRC), said Thailand could become the first country outside of the UK to develop M&S's online business.

"We plan to develop our own M&S website to sell the products in cyberspace to support our physical store outlets in Thailand," said Lida, adding that the company now operates 10 M&S stores in Thailand.

Last weekend Suvimol reopened a 1,000 sq m M&S store in Lat Phrao. The outlet would bring the new 'Home Store' concept to shoppers, Singratanakul said.

The company is also renovating its outlet at Central Department Store in Bangna, which will be reopened by the end of June. Other renovated M&S outlets at Central Pinklao and Silom Complex will be opened in the third quarter of this year.

Suvimol achieved total sales of Bt465m ($10.3m) from the M&S business last year, up 10 per cent from 1999.