British high street retailer Marks and Spencer is to double its retail presence in India, targeting 50 stores in the next three years.
M&S currently operates 17 stores in India through a joint venture with Reliance Retail. Last week it opened its latest store in Chennai.
A spokesperson for M&S told just-style.com, the UK apparel and textile industry's online source, that the joint venture with Reliance Retail has allowed it to "gain better control" in India.
For M&S, market control means controlling the choice of location and space of its stores. In India, it is primarily looking at city malls: "In India there are lots of great opportunities but a lot of it is about relying on the space becoming available, so we do want to open stores but it's about making sure we get the right locations, and the right shopping malls."
The spokesperson said future stores in Indian cities would offer a wider range of the M&S range: "As well as trying to expand our presence, it's about getting the size of the store right. So where some of our franchise stores are a little bit small, the stores we are opening now, we're trying to build them a bit bigger so that we can offer a bigger catalogue."
M&S had formed the joint venture with Reliance Capital in 2008 assessing that local sourcing will help it lower prices for Indian consumers.