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Friday, 23 November, 2001, 17:49 GMT
M&S sells US stores
A Brooks Brothers store
Brooks Brothers has made a modest loss this year
Marks & Spencer has sold its US Brooks Brothers stores, progressing a revival strategy which has seen the UK retailer retreat to its home market.

The Brooks Brothers chain, which made a small loss in the first half of the year, was sold for $225m (159m) in cash to Retail Brand Alliance, a speciality retailer.

The price reportedly represents about one-third of what M&S paid for Brooks Brothers in 1988.

But analysts said M&S would be relieved to have completed a further disposal, having struggled for months to shed many of its Continental European operations.

M&S shares rose 2.25p to 336.25p in early trade on Friday, before closing down 1.5p at 332.5.

Another step

M&S said in a statement the move was "a further step in the restructuring programme announced in March to sell or close all non-strategic or loss-making businesses", allowing it to focus on its core British businesses.

International Director David Norgrove said that while Brooks Brothers had "a wonderful American heritage and a committed work was not a good fit with M&S's core business or strategic priorities."

M&S also confirmed that it hoped to sell its other US operation - 27 Kings Super Markets stores - by Christmas, despite delays caused by the 11 September attacks.

Brooks is one of the oldest retailers in the US and opened its first store in New York 175 years ago.

It is best known for its suits although it has more recently ventured into womenswear.

Retail Brand Alliance, a privately-held firm, already owns Casual Corner, a women's speciality retailer, jewellery designer Carolee and Adrienne Vittadini, a designer of women's clothing and accessories.

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