INDIA: M&S strikes JV deal with Reliance
The two sides had been locked in talks but the UK retailer today (18 April) unveiled a deal it hopes will establish M&S as a "major retail brand in India".
The new venture - Marks & Spencer Reliance India Pvt Ltd - plans to open 50 stores in Indian cities under the Marks & Spencer banner in the next five years.
The product line-up will include M&S men's, women's and children's clothing and homeware, many of which will be sourced from local suppliers.
An M&S spokesperson said: "We will be selling clothing and homeware, including signature M&S brands like the Per Una, Autograph and Limited collections."
Marks & Spencer will take a 51% stake in the newly-formed company. Reliance Retail will hold the remaining 49%.
The two sides will initially invest GBP29m (US$57.9m) into the business and said they would provide more funding as it becomes necessary.
The deal is subject to certain conditions, including approval from the Indian government.
Planet Retail, Marks & Spencer's existing franchise partner in India, is expected to continue as a franchisee for the 14 existing franchise stores.
Today's announcement is part of Marks & Spencer's plans to grow its international business to 15-20% of group revenues within the next five years.
M&S chief executive Sir Stuart Rose described India as "a very exciting opportunity for Marks & Spencer and a market where there is the potential for M&S to become a major retail brand."
Mark Ashman has been named as chief executive officer of Marks & Spencer Reliance India Pvt Ltd.
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