LOOKING EAST: Marks & Spencer plans to make further inroads into Saudi Arabia and the Middle East with Alhokair Fashion Retail, its Saudi Arabian franchise partner, and new stores set to open in the spring. M&S has been working with Alhokair since 2001, and the partners operate 19 Marks & Spencer franchises in Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Georgia. New openings are planned for Jeddah, Riyadh and Baku, with at least 10 new locations set to be operating by April 2015.

“Our franchise partnerships are central to our international growth strategy” said Mark Koprowski, Marks & Spencer’s regional director for the Middle East and CIS. “Through our successful partnership, we’re [pleased] to continue to build our presence in Saudi Arabia and the Caucasus to bring more of our quality, stylish fashions to customers across the region.”

This story first appeared in the July 23, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Alhokair Fashion Retail was Marks & Spencer’s first franchise partner to unveil the British chain’s stand-alone Lingerie & Beauty stores globally.

Simon Marshall, chief executive officer of Alhokair, said: “Lingerie & Beauty draws on the rich heritage and unique position which Marks & Spencer enjoys within the intimate apparel market.…We embrace the opportunity to continue to build their business in Saudi Arabia and [elsewhere].”