Home Europe Marks & Spencer to close more than half its stores in France due to Brexit supply problems

Marks & Spencer to close more than half its stores in France due to Brexit supply problems

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The British retail chain Marks and Spencer has announced it is to close 11 stores in France “in the coming months”, more than half of its 20 sites in the country, due to supply problems related to Brexit.

“The lengthy and complex export procedures now in place following the UK”s exit from the European Union significantly limit the supply of fresh and chilled produce from the UK to Europe and continue to have an impact on the availability of products for our customers” in France, the group said in a statement.

M&S added that its partnership with SFH, one of its two partners in France, would cease, resulting in the closure of 11 franchise stores by the end of the year, most of them in Paris.

Its nine stores situated in airports and stations, run with its other partner, Lagardere Travel Retail, will remain open.

“M&S has a long history of serving customers in France and this is not a decision we or our partner SFH have taken lightly,” said the group’s international director Paul Friston, in a statement.

In late August M&S chariman Archie Norman, who has complained about post-Brexit trading arrangements, sharply criticised them again in a scathing article in the Mail on Sunday, castigating “a fandango of bureaucracy”.

He cited onerous border checks and paperwork demands for entry into the EU, especially for products with animal ingredients, and said that on average M&S wagons travelled to ports with 700 pages of documentation.

Post-Brexit rules have hit UK exporters to the EU in particular, especially those sending fresh produce, due to new bureaucracy and controls in force since the start of the year. In contrast, the UK has delayed again introducing checks going the other way on imports from the EU into the UK.

The changes result from the UK’s decision to leave the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union, a political choice made in order to become an independent trading nation, free from EU rules.

More details to follow. Please refresh for updates.

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