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M&S opening 250 shops outside UK

msMarks & Spencer is planning an aggressive campaign of shop openings outside the UK.

It says it will launch 250 more stores abroad in the next three years, including 20 food outlets just in Paris.

The news comes just as the company is expected to report to report its 11th consecutive drop in quarterly clothing sales despite investing millions in trying to revitalise its clothing selection. Food sales, however, are expected to show a slight increase.

The significant global expansion plans are an attempt to increase international sales by 25% and profits as much as 40%, according to M&S chief exec Marc Bolland.

New stores are planned for major cities in western Europe, India and the Middle East.

Some will be dedicated lingerie and beauty stores, smaller than its traditional outlets. Two have already opened in Saudi Arabia, with 10 more planned in the next two years.

Twenty sites in India will have lingerie and beauty shops, with M&S planning on having 100 stores in India by 2016.

But it has had to rethink its approach in China. As many as a third of its 15 existing stores in Shanghai are to be closed or relocated. Other British retailers have had to leave China and M&S said it will have to get help from a local partner.

M&S currently has 455 stores outside the UK.