Page last updated at 12:45 GMT, Tuesday, 17 January 2006

Store deal expands M&S food chain

M&S Simply Food store
The Simply Food format is proving a money-spinner for M&S

Marks & Spencer is to expand its chain of Simply Food outlets after it bought 28 stores from retailer Iceland for 38m ($67m).

The deal will mean M&S has 171 Simply Food stores, a format it described as "very popular and profitable".

M&S is seeking rapid expansion of the Simply Food chain. In November, chief executive Stuart Rose said he wanted to add 100 stores over the next two years.

Last week, M&S said food sales rose by nearly 8% over the Christmas period.

The growth in food outstripped that of clothing sales, which grew by 1.9%, and helped the retailer to report a 2.9% rise in like-for-like sales over the 13 weeks to the end of December.

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