Compass Group has opened its first Marks & Spencer Simply Food store at the Royal Derby Hospital, as it announced a new franchise deal with the high-street retailer.

The Derby outlet will be the first of a number of M&S Simply Food branches Compass’s specialist medical division Medirest will open in hospitals, the company said today. Compass has held the retail contract at the Royal Derby Hospital for five years.

“M&S is an ideal strategic partner for Compass. We are delighted to partner with M&S and look forward to offering our customers the confidence of a high-street quality brand that they know and love,” said Ian Sarson, group managing director of Compass Group UK & Ireland.

Paul Horwell, head of UK Franchise at Marks & Spencer, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Compass Group at Royal Derby Hospital. Compass joins our roster of trusted franchise partners and the combination of Compass’ retail expertise in specialist locations with M&S’s innovative, quality food offer is an exciting prospect.”

The new store joins 242 other franchised Simply Food outlets in retail locations such as rail stations, airports, BP forecourts and hospitals. M&S currently has seven Simply Food stores in hospitals, including the Derby outlet. Of the remaining six, one is operated in partnership with WH Smith and five with SSP.

Earlier this week, M&S revealed plans to bring the Simply Food brand to Europe, starting with the Netherlands.