Marks and Spencer is to expand its partnership with Moto service stations across the UK as its Simply Food franchise continues to deliver sales uplifts.
The expansion, described as a "brand new initiative", will kick off in early 2007 with a view to opening up the Simply Food offer beyond its current 13 Moto sites, providing a premium offer to more travellers.
The announcement comes ahead of the retailer's second-quarter results next week, where analysts are predicting a slight dampening of like-for-like sales with increases pegged at 3%-5%, slightly down on its 5.8% in the first quarter. Analysts forecast that the chain will report pre-tax interim profits of between £387m and £402m.
"A 5% like-for-like increase would imply a slowdown due to the fact the comparatives are so tough," said Jonathan Pritchard, an analyst at Oriel Securities. "But I don't think momentum has slowed particularly.
"There aren't an infinite number of opportunities with Moto but I think they'll continue to roll out the concept at full speed for quite a while."
Dave Stoddart, an analyst at Teather & Greenwood, said market trends for quality, fair trade and provenance were helping M&S.