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Last Updated: Friday, 31 March 2006, 09:01 GMT 10:01 UK
Marks & Spencer sells US business
M&S store
M&S has been selling off its overseas stores
Marks & Spencer is to sell its US supermarket business to a private equity consortium for $61.5m (35.4m).

The deal, which will see the sale of 26 stores in New Jersey and New York, will mark the retailer's exit from the US.

M&S acquired Kings Super Markets - a New Jersey business established in 1936 - in 1988 but the outlets have never carried M&S branding.

M&S has focused its energies on its home market in the past five years, selling off most of its foreign stores.

It disposed of its French and Spanish businesses in 2001.

Peripheral asset

M&S is selling the US business to a consortium including private equity firms Angelo Gordon and MTN Capital.

The business made an operating profit of 4.3m on sales of 219.8m in the year to 2 April.

"The disposal of Kings is the last part of our programme to refocus Marks & Spencer," said group finance director Ian Dyson.

"Kings is a strong brand with a committed workforce but it doesn't fit with our core business."

Tesco recently announced plans to open its first US store early in 2007.

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