Marks & Spencer moves food store alliance with BP to Holland
British high street giant Marks & Spencer is returning to the Netherlands with two flagship stores and a deal with BP to set up food shops at petrol stations around the country.
A food store with a limited collection of clothes and ‘e-boutique’ for online shopping opens in Amsterdam’s Kalverstraat on Wednesday, marking the return of the department store to the Netherlands after a 12-year absence.
This September, M&S will open the first of six joint venture Simply Food outlets at a BP petrol station near Utrecht. These will stock fresh food, ready prepared meals, sandwiches and basic groceries.
Other Simply Food outlets, with some 700 items in stock, will open at five more BP garages near Amsterdam and The Hague by the end of the year. If a success, the concept will be rolled out to other locations nationwide, Hendrick Mullerman, managing director of BP Nederlands told a news conference.
While the aim of the e-boutique is to pilot a new form of online-based retail, next year a 4,000 square metre full-service store will open its doors in The Hague.
And in 2015 a 6,000 square metre flagship store will open on Amsterdam’s Rokin close to Dam square, coinciding with the opening of the new metro system.
The two large stores are the only ones the company will be opening in the Netherlands, chief exective Mark Bolland said. The company also has stores in Paris and Brussels.
Wednesday also sees the launch of a bilingual Dutch-English website targeting the Netherlands. Goods ordered online or in the Kalverstraat store can be picked up in Amsterdam or home-delivered.
Marks & Spencer’s e-commerce director Laura Wade-Gery said the company had opted to launch its new e-boutique concept in the Netherlands because the country has the second-highest penetration of online shopping in Europe, behind Britain.
‘Everyone who is carrying a mobile phone is carrying our shop with them,’ Wade-Gery said.
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