A fifth of our turnover comes from non-metros: James Munson, MD, Marks & Spencer

In a chat with exchange4media, Munson also talks about the re-pricing of children’s products bringing enormous success to the brand

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Updated: Feb 15, 2019 1:20 AM
james munson

Marks & Spencer has come up with plans to open six more store in the next 60 days. They have also released the Spring relaunch campaign that invites customers to 'Rethink' their wardrobe with guidance and inspiration from the brand.  

The British multi-national retailer, which first entered the Indian market in 2001, will be looking at adding new stores outside the key metro cities and being on top of the game when it comes to their online channels, says James Munson, MD, M&S in an exclusive conversation with exchange4media. 

M&S recently launched a new store in Bhubaneswar - its first in Odisha and 67th in the country.
Munson shared the growth story for the brand in India, the response to their products in tier-II cities and the pricing strategy.  


Edited excerpts: 

How has the growth story been for M&S in India? 
India has become the largest market for M&S outside the UK. We have 71 stores today and have opened nine stores in the last six months. And we plan to open six stores in the next 60 days. So we continue to ramp up our aspirations of growth within the country and build on the success we already have.


How has the response been to your products in tier-II cities?
We’ve got fifth of our turnover coming from cities outside the Metros and as we go forward, we’ll see a combination of opening stores in large Metros as well as smaller cities.


What is the percentage of local sourcing for you now?
We source 30 per cent of our products from India itself and 65 per cent of what we sell is sourced from outside India.


What are the peculiarities of the Indian market?
In terms of the weather, in winter, Delhi is cold but Chennai is not. So basis the climate, we have to make sure that we have a relevant offering for every customer. 


How has the change in your pricing strategy helped establish a stronger foothold in the Indian market, considering the fact that it is highly price sensitive?
We’ve invested in a number of areas to ensure that the quality of the product is fantastic. Because of the activity we have taken to re-price children’s products, we’ve seen fantastic success and we’ll continue to offer great value in the market.


The organised retail market in India is isn’t that big a number. Is that a hurdle for expansion?
I think we’ve seen the market develop significantly over the time that we’ve been here and are witnessing increasing number of retail expansion within the country. The stronger pipeline of property is also coming through. So we see a good growth of potential malls in the next 3 to 5 years.

India has one of the largest networks of M&S outlets outside the UK. What are your plans for the future? 
We will continue to invest and what we see today is that India is a strategically-important market for the group. And with the investments that we’re making in terms of localisation of our marketing philosophy is an indication of this and of the seriousness we’re putting behind this market.


Share with us the key learnings and plans ahead for the brand.
We have learnt a lot from the time spent here. And I think we’ve done a good job of keeping customers at the heart of what we do and making sure that the product is relevant to them. We’ll continue to look at how we can grow the business and ways of making ourselves even more accessible to the customer. We’ll also continue to look at adding new stores outside the key metro cities and would be looking for good growth in the online channel as well. 

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