By  on March 29, 1994

LONDON -- Marks & Spencer has signed a franchise agreement with Turk Petrol Holdings under which it will open freestanding department stores in Turkey.

The first will open in Istanbul this year or in early 1995, a spokeswoman for the company said. The store will carry a full range of women's and men's wear, all of which will be under Marks & Spencer's St. Michael label.

There are no plans at this stage to sell Marks & Spencer's food or home furnishings in Turkey, the spokeswoman said. The apparel will be from Marks & Spencer's two collections a year, and TPH buyers will select those styles best suited to the Turkish market.

"We will do nothing specific for the Turkish market, and the products will be made by our existing suppliers," the spokeswoman said.

TPH, which Marks & Spencer selected from 46 applicants, operates , 650 gas stations in Turkey and is also involved in food production, office equipment retailing and tourism. It is the franchisee in Turkey for Wendy's, the fast food chain, Marks & Spencer said.

Marks & Spencer is the latest retailer to move into the Turkish market. Carrefour opened a 150,000-square-foot hypermarket near Istanbul last November and plans to open others in the long term.

Ralph Lauren also opened a store for his women's and men's wear in Istanbul late last year and Gucci has had a store there for several years.

The TPH agreement is the latest in Marks & Spencer's expansion of franchised stores, which now total about 70 in 20 countries. It recently opened a second franchised store in Thailand and plans further stores in Portugal, Greece, Singapore and Austria.

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