Mumbai, Feb 10 (PTI) British multinational retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) is on an aggressive pace here and is opening six more stores in the next two months alone, a top company official has said.

Marks & Spencer has opened its first store here way back in 2001 and in April 2008 signed a joint venture agreement with Reliance Retail to form Marks & Spencer Reliance India.

It now has 71 stores across 30 cities like New Delhi, Amritsar, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Kochi, Bhopal, Kanpur, Hyderabad and Chandigarh among others.

“India has become increasingly an important market for us. We are now the largest market for M&S outside of our home market. We are 71 stores today and we continue to invest in this market. We opened nine stores in the last six months and it is our intention to open six more in the next 60 days,” Marks & Spencer Reliance India managing director James Munson told PTI in an interview.

Internationally, Marks & Spencer hawks its products in 57 markets across 400 stores and an online presence in 33 markets.

Munson further said they would look to maintain that expansion pace in the next year as well and said, “there are no other markets which are expanding the way we are expanding here”.

Of the 71 stores here, 10 are standalone beauty and lingerie stores , including two it opened in the last nine months and said half of the stores it plans to open in the next 60 days would also be for the same.

The company clocked a revenue of Rs 908 crore last year and has been growing at a CAGR of 24 percent over the last five years, Munson said.

It had clocked a 9 percent growth in the same store sales last year.

A fifth of the turnover comes from outside the major metros, he said.

It sources 30 percent of its products from locally and India is a sourcing base for the wider British market as well.

M&S has partnered with other e-commerce players like Amazon and Flipkart over the last few years and he said its a strong area of growth and this year they are expecting 75 percent growth in online sales.

However, the contribution from online to its revenues is still quite small here, unlike in Britain where it’s targeting 30 per cent online sales.

M&S has developed a rethink campaign specifically for this market, a first globally where a campaign has been designed for the local market.

In Britain, food is a popular segment for the company but Munson said there are no plans at present to introduce food here.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.