Wed, Jan 18, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Marks & Spencer outlet may open soon

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Marks & Spencer, one of Britain's top three retailers, is mulling a joint venture with a Taiwanese partner, and if everything goes smoothly, the first store is expected to open its doors by year's end, Jones Lang LaSalle Taiwan said yesterday.

The joint venture is expected to be confirmed after the Lunar New Year holiday, the international real estate agent said.

"Marks & Spencer has been observing the Taiwanese market for a long time and is interested in setting up shop here," said Mara Wang (王香完), head of retail services with Jones Lang LaSalle.

Jones Lang LaSalle has been acting as middleman in finding the British retailer a local partner and has been looking for suitable locations around the country.

Marks & Spencer has expanded its territory into most Asian markets, but not in Taiwan, Japan or China, she said.

Optimistic about Taiwanese purchasing power, the retailer hopes to open stand-alone stores or combine with shopping malls with net sales floorspace of at least 600 pings (1,980m2), she added.

The retailer will likely offer middle and upper-range products targeting the nation's growing number of trend-conscious customers.

If the venture proceeds smoothly, Marks & Spencer would also seek the assistance of its counterpart's retail experience in China to make a move across the Taiwan Strait, Wang said.

"Unlike Shanghai and Hong Kong, which have numerous tourists to support the retail market, the Taiwanese market is special in terms of its residents' purchasing power and taste, and is acclaimed by international brands," Wang said.

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