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Marks & Spencer Sets Objective for Boosting International Profit

Marks & Spencer Group Plc, Britain’s largest clothing retailer, set a goal to increase earnings at its international business by 40 percent over the next three years through a strategy of adding stores and expanding online.

The company’s objective is to boost sales at the unit by 25 percent over the same period, London-based Marks & Spencer said today at a presentation for investors in Paris. About 250 new outlets will be opened, it said.

India, China, Russia, the Middle East and western Europe are classed as priority targets by the retailer, which is counting on international growth to cushion declining sales of clothing at home. Marks & Spencer said in November it plans to make India its largest international market by doubling store numbers there and opening standalone lingerie outlets.

“Our strategy of becoming an international, multichannel retailer is more relevant than ever before because of the strong growth potential of international markets,” Chief Executive Officer Marc Bolland said in a statement. “We are focusing on flagship stores to deliver brand presence and stand out. We also see great opportunities in fresh food and lingerie & beauty.”

The international division currently accounts for about 10 percent of group revenue, with more than 450 stores across 53 markets. The company is also expanding its online business with nine dedicated local websites.

Marks & Spencer plans to open about 20 food stores in Paris over the next three years, it said today. New lingerie and beauty concepts will be expanded in the Middle East and India.

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