Marks & Spencer's London head office said today that it was meeting with staff representatives to discuss plans to close its French stores.

The retailer announced last week that it was closing its Continental European subsidiaries as part of a major restructure to concentrate on its UK stores.

One press report said that two French trade unions have taken court action to try to force M&S to reverse its decision.

It also said that the Communist-led CGT union wanted to link up with trade unions in other European countries to lead a concerted fight against M&S.

But a spokesman for M&S told just-style: "We are currently meeting with staff representatives in France to discuss our proposals. We have complied with the legislation required and made every effort to consult employees."

M&S has 18 stores in France. The planned closure of its French stores is part of a major plan which will see 4,390 jobs axed. A total of 3,350 jobs will go in Continental Europe, 690 at M&S Direct catalogue in the UK and 350 at M&S's London head office.

By Deborah Bowyer