Marks & Spencer, the British retailer, has opened its second outpost in Shanghai, in a new development in Yu Gardens. A third is scheduled for the end of the year.
The second store was allegedly the brainchild of Sir Stuart Rose, the former M&S chairman, who thought it would help spread the M&S brand throughout China. So many tourists from the provinces visit Yu Gardens, the thinking goes, that it would serve as a great advertisement.
I’m told by people involved that the store has been a success so far, even if it didn’t snag the prime sites that H&M and Zara were given. However, judging by some recent visits to the original M&S flagship store on Nanjing road, the company is still having problems with its supply chain.
M&S badly messed up a year or so ago when its goods were impounded at Chinese customs and the store was left with empty shelves. The situation has improved since then, but many product lines seem unavailable and in clothing the sizing remains unsuitable for Chinese customers.
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, M&S is branching out into a fresh food store in Wan Chai. M&S food has been a great success in the UK and it is likely, if priced correctly, to do well in Hong Kong. I won’t hold my breath for a Shanghai store though – I’m not sure there is a supplier ready to provide the range of produce necessary.