Is Marks & Spencer heading back to Israel? Several Jewish entrepreneurs have been working to obtain a franchise enabling them to build six new stores under the famous UK brand's name, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday.
The Marks & Spencer franchise operates hundreds of stores in 30 countries. Nevertheless, M&S' previous attempts to infiltrate the Israeli market – with stores located within Hamashbir Latzarchan outlets – have failed.
According to the report, several locations for the future stores have already been scouted and the people heading the move have already met with various owners of Israel's leading shopping malls and marketing companies.
Among the places considered as possible locations are the Renanim Mall in Raanana, the Grand Mall in Haifa and properties in Jerusalem's Zion Square. One of the issues delaying the selection of a location is M&S' desire to mirror their Oxford Street store in London – the company has yet to find a similar, suitable space in Israel.
Heading the Israeli venture for Marks & Spencer is Ido Mazursky, former CEO of Toys R Us. M&S is said to want its Israeli operation up and running by the end of 2008.
The recession noted in the UK market has not left Marks & Spencer unscathed: The company's stock has plunged 16% in January and its last quarter of 2007 noted a 2.2% drop - the weakest performance in two years.