Marks and Spencers food hall Amsterdam

M&S is speeding up the rollout of its Simply Food stores

Marks & Spencer is planning to double the rate of Simply Food store openings in the UK and abroad.

The retailer said it would open 150 new Simply Food stores over the next three years. About half of them will be company owned – typically the larger 10-15,000 sq ft stores on high streets and in retail parks – and half will be franchises of about 2,000 sq ft located in travel hubs. There are currently 427 Simply Food stores.

Internationally, M&S has signed a deal with French newsagent chain Relay France to open around 10 stores in Paris by 2018. The first store will open in summer 2014.

The retailer is also opening food stores in the Netherlands. Four BP-run Simply Food stores opened in the autumn and another two will open before Christmas.

It has also introduced a small chilled section to a store in Prague and is trialling frozen food in Hong Kong.

“There’s a large opportunity for food internationally as we continue our corporate strategy to grow international,” said Steve Rowe, M&S executive director of food.

He said the Champs-Elysees store it opened in 2011 has the highest food sales per square foot of any store in the M&S estate.