Japan's top casual wear retailer, Fast Retailing Co Ltd, is not planning to buy Marks & Spencer's 18 stores in France, nor does it plan to form an alliance with M&S, according to a company spokesman.

M&S is selling the stores as part of its global restructuring plan, following losses of over £100m over a two year period, and Fast Retailing had been seen as a candidate. With the September deadline which the store set itself to find a buyer drawing near, French retailer Galaries Lafayette is now tipped as most likely.

Fast Retailing plans to open a total of 50 stores in the UK over the next three years. The company says it wants to evaluate performance in the UK market before any expansion into the rest of Europe is considered.

To view related research reports, please follow the links below:-

Retail 2000: Strategic Issues for Europe

Clothing Retailing In Europe 2001