Marks & Spencer announced yesterday (September 16) that it would be closing 11 of its French stores by the end of this year because of stock transportation delays caused by post-Brexit border controls.
The closures concern the M&S Food shops that were run with French partner SFH Invest.
The remaining nine stores, which are located in travel hubs such as airports and stations and run by M&S’ other partner Lagardère Travel Retail, will continue trading.
The stores set to close are all situated in Paris in the following locations:
- Grand Rex (75002)
- Saint Michel (75005)
- Saint Germain (75006)
- Franklin Roosevelt (75008)
- Saint Lazare (75008)
- Grévin (75009)
- Ledru Rollin (75011)
- Avenue du Général Leclerc (75014)
- Passy (75016)
- Palais des Congrès (75017)
- So Ouest shopping centre (Levallois-Perret, 92300)
Branches will remain open in:
- Roissy Pôle station (Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 3)
- Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 1 - although this store is temporarily closed
- Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 2E
- Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 2F
- Paris Gare de l’Est
- Paris Châtelet les Halles
- Place de la Gare, Lille
- La Défense RER station, Paris
- Paris Montparnasse station
French border controls “draconian”
M&S chairman Archie Norman recently stated that “draconian” French border controls made it very difficult for the retailer to maintain supply of fresh food – including sandwiches – in its shops.
Mr Norman has previously said that M&S’s sandwiches were “very popular” in France, and were exported across the Channel every day after being produced in a huge factory in Northampton.
They only stay fresh for about 48 hours, and so the introduction of post-Brexit customs checks means that up to one third are now reaching their best-before date before they arrive in France.
The Connexion has approached M&S and Lagardère to ask why their sandwiches are still imported to France rather than being produced in the country.
Lagardère said: "M&S offers exclusive recipes and works with long-standing suppliers. They’re not ready to share those recipes nor to change suppliers.
"Opening up to brand new suppliers in France would create great economic complexity: setting up a new supply chain requires great financial investments."
In an interview with the Financial Times in 2018, Mr Norman did consider setting up a French sandwich production site following Brexit, but questioned whether it would be economically viable.