Mystery surrounds plans by Marks and Spencer to open two new Simply Food stores at Gatwick Airport.

According to a job advert seeking store managers, deputy store managers and assistant managers, M&S is planning to open "a new fast food concept" where the new recruits will be "part of a brand new initiative from day one" and "take this new concept forward".

A spokeswoman for the retailer refused to discuss details of the venture, saying: "We are in negotiations with airport company BAA for a couple of sites at Gatwick Airport, but we are unable to provide further information at this stage."

M&S Simply Food is run under franchise by private equity group EQT, which acquired the food and drink business of Select Service Partner, previously the travel retail arm of Compass, in April (The Grocer, 15 April, p25). EQT also runs Whistlestop, but it is unclear whether one of the planned stores will replace the existing Whistlestop situated in Gatwick's North Terminal.