Marks & Spencer closing 11 stores in France due to Brexit – The Independent

Marks & Spencer has blamed Brexit for the closure of 11 of its French stores.

The UK retail giant is struggling to stock the stores with fresh and chilled products due to supply chain problems.

As a result, all 11 franchise stores, operated in partnership with SFH, in France will shut “over the coming months”.

M&S said supply chain problems caused by Brexit have made it “near impossible” to maintain standards and keep shelves full.

“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 Paul Friston, M&S international director.

“However, as things stand today, the supply chain complexities in place following the UK’s exit from the European Union now make it near impossible for us to serve fresh and chilled products to customers to the high standards they expect, resulting in an ongoing impact to the performance of our business.

“With no workable alternative for the High Street stores, we have agreed with SFH to close all 11 franchised stores.”

M&S runs nine stores in French travel hubs and these will be unaffected.

In the statement, the retail chain said: “Today’s announcement is the latest change to the structure of our European businesses following the UK’s exit from the European Union.

“In April earlier this year, we announced the reconfiguration of our food business in Czech Republic, removing the sale of all fresh and chilled products from stores, and instead doubling our ranges of frozen and ambient products.

“This removed the ongoing supply chain risks to our business and the knock-on impact on limiting availability for customers in our stores.”

In a letter to suppliers earlier this month, M&S warned of a range of problems for food imports to the UK when Brexit border rules change.

The company set out a range of problems, including key documents not being translated into local languages, and some authorities who “do not appear to know what will be required”.

New paperwork and checks were set to be implemented in October but it has now been reported that these changes have been delayed till 2022.

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