Marks & Spencer plans to open 100 stores in India by 2016

MUMBAI Tue May 20, 2014 6:06am EDT

People walk past a Marks and Spencer store in Leicester, central England, November 4, 2009. REUTERS/Darren Staples

People walk past a Marks and Spencer store in Leicester, central England, November 4, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Staples

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Britain's largest clothing retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) on Tuesday said it will open a hundred stores in India by 2016 instead of 86 as planned last year.

The clothing retailer, which runs 40 stores in the country, said its Indian same-store-sales grew 13 percent in the fiscal year ended March 2014.

Same-stores-sales is a key performance metric for retailers and measures sales growth at stores open for more than a year. Comparative figures from a year earlier were not available.

Three years ago, M&S identified India as a priority market and Chief Executive Marc Bolland last year said the company planned to offer more stylish and fashionable clothes to Indians after years of struggling with brand positioning in the country.

M&S faces tough competition in India from the world's biggest fashion retailer Inditex SA (ITX.MC) and its Zara brand.

Marks & Spencer operates in India in a joint venture with Reliance Retail, a unit of billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries (RELI.NS).

"Together with our partner Reliance Retail, we are continuing to invest into accelerating our growth in India as we build a leadership position in the market," said Venu Nair, Managing Director of Marks & Spencer Reliance India.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)

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