Former Marks & Spencer chairman Luc Vandevelde is looking to make a move into the Irish Republic's booming food retail market.

His private equity firm Change Capital Partners was seeking acquisitions in the Irish retail and supply chain sectors, he told delegates at a Bord Bia Marketplace Ireland conference.

Vandevelde, who left M&S in 2004 and resigned as chairman of Carrefour three months ago, runs the firm with former M&S chief executive Roger Holmes.

Change Capital's strategy was to use private equity capital to take controlling stakes in retailers and consumer goods companies in Europe, Vandevelde said.

"We don't just bring capital to our companies - we also bring retail expertise. We have spent €300m (£203m) on seven investments in our first fund and are now opening our second."

There were two major challenges facing the Irish market: conflicts between retailers and producers over prices, and those between the multiples and planners over the location of new stores. "Commercial realities" would result in current tensions on pricing being replaced by partnerships, he predicted, adding that some of the biggest successes at M&S were achieved by working with suppliers.

Retailers could no longer "just locate on the edge of urban centres", he said. "You will see more high-quality food convenience stores opening at filling stations."