Marks and Spencer has finally managed to meet with union officials and store workers in compliance with the court order regarding its plans to shut down its French operations.

A previous attempt to get the relevant parties around the table to discuss a timetable of meetings for the consultation process was scuppered after the workers representatives failed to show up.

Details of what was said in the meeting were not disclosed, although a spokesman for the Confederation Generale du Travail, one of France's more influential trade unions, told Dow Jones that there had been no discussion of a timetable for meetings but that that would come at a later date.

The meeting will come as a welcome relief for the M&S bosses who have been heavily criticised since the announcement of the store closures was made. Trade unions in France have sought to sue the retailer over its handling of the announcement, claiming that store workers were only told of the plans through an internal communication just before a general announcement was made on the London Stock Exchange.

Unions representing workers from the countries affected by M&S' plans will be meeting later in April to discuss a demonstration date for European workers through the streets of London.