British retailer Marks & Spencer is mulling the future of its French business as new trade rules that have been put in place since Britain left the European Union continue to impact product availability across its store locations.
According to reports, the company is expected to close its stores in France and stop selling popular food items and chilled goods in the country altogether.
The company has had to make similar moves in other European countries where supply chain issues arising from new trade rules have complicated the stocking of certain products.
“In light of the new customs arrangements, we are taking decisive steps to reconfigure our European operations and have already made changes to food export into Czech Republic,” said an M&S spokesperson.
“We operate a franchise business in France and are currently undertaking a review of the model with our two partners in the market.”
Many of these issues stem from huge amounts of paperwork that is now required of the company to get certain goods into EU countries such as Ireland and France — a pain point that M&S Chairman Archie Norman has previously complained about.
The company is currently undergoing a 10-year business turnaround plan. In June, it was revealed that the company plans to close a third of its stores as digital sales continue to deliver strong results. The efforts seem to be paying off as the company has raised its profit outlook following an increase in demand for food and online clothes sales.