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Marks & Spencer Opens Beijing Flagship

Nine months after Marks & Spencer (M&S) unveiled plans to close five stores in China’s Shanghai region so it could focus on expanding into more affluent areas, it made good on its promise.

The British retailer on Friday opened a flagship store in Beijing.

Located at The Place, one of the city’s largest shopping centers, the 1,500-square-meter space (about 16,000 square feet) sells lingerie and men’s, women’s and kids’ clothes, as well as 1,200 food and drink products.

“The move is in line with Marks & Spencer’s growth plans for its China business and builds on the growing popularity in Beijing for Marks & Spencer products through its online sites on leading Chinese websites like Tmall and JD,” the retailer said in a statement to China Daily in October when the new store was announced.

M&S has made no secret of its intent to invest in China since it launched there in 2008. It currently has about 10 stores in Shanghai and 20 in Hong Kong. Plans are in the pipeline to enter Guangzhou and Dalian, but specific openings have yet to be announced.

In addition to brick-and-mortar, it started selling men’s and womenswear on Alibaba’s Tmall.com in 2012—sales grew 200 percent last year—and added childrenswear to the mix last January. Its apparel also retails on Alibaba rival JD.com.

M&S international sales were down 0.9% to 506.6 million pounds (about $755.3 million) in the six months ended Sept. 26, but the retailer said its revenue in Greater China was up.

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