Ten years after pulling out of France, Marks and Spencer is back. The popular British department store has opened a large new store on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, and customers queued up this week for the grand opening.
The decision to shut its French outlets a decade ago led to much consternation in France. British retailers aren’t known for their French appeal, but Marks and Spencer is different: the defiantly British store has something of a cult following, and the new 1,400 sq metre store has been welcomed by politicians and the public alike.
The return of Marks and Spencer to France also arguably marks the end of one of the darkest periods in the company’s history. Ten years ago, M&S was suffering from what some analysts thought might prove to be a terminal decline. Today, it is back on top form and is one of Britain’s biggest success stories.