TALLINN - The largest retail chain in the U.K. has launched its first store in Tallinn, with the further expansion marking a significant increase in the chain's international business.
Marks & Spencer plans on launching the store on May 7.
"We're delighted to be opening our first store in Estonia. We've been looking to open a store in Tallinn for some time and are really pleased to have secured such a prime location that will allow us to bring Marks & Spencer products and services to a whole new group of customers," said Dusan Mrozek, Managing Director of Marks & Spencer Estonia.
The store will be launched in the Roca Al Mare shopping center, which is owned and managed by Citycon. The store sells high-end British made clothing, home products and produce.
Marks & Spencer has already opened stores in the other two Baltic states 's the largest of which is located in Vilnius. The Tallinn store will boast a total area of approximately 1,500 square meters.
Founded in 1884 by Michael Marks, the company was later joined by Thomas Spencer. The chain employs more than 75,000 people and maintains more than 600 stores in the U.K. and 275 stores in 39 other countries around the world.
The store will be opened in the new fashion section of the Rocca al Mare Shopping Center as part of a wider expansion of the shopping center.
Citycon is currently undergoing a major development project in the mall, with a total investment of approximately 68 million euros. It will be the largest shopping center in the country when the developments are completed.
"We are glad to be able to offer our visitors something completely new on the Estonian market 's especially since this is such a famous and long-waited brand," said Mati Pops, the manager of the Rocca al Mare Shopping Center. He said that the contract with Marks & Spencer is definitely a sign the shopping center is an attractive venue. "Despite the challenging market situation, the letting of the new premises have been successful. The contract with top brand Marks & Spencer is obvious evidence of Rocca al Mare's attractiveness. The leasing rate at this point is over 90 percent," said Pekka Huttunen, Citycon's Property Investment Manager.
The first phase of Rocca al Mare's redevelopment project was opened in October. Marks & Spencer is the key anchor tenant in the new fashion section constituted by the second development phase, to be opened in May. The development project consists of three phases and should be completed sometime in November 2009.
Rocca al Mare is one of Citycon's pilot projects in sustainable construction, whereby special attention is paid to environmental issues such as recycling and energy consumption.
In the design of its stores, Marks & Spencer has also pledged to consider environmental protection and the principles of sustainable development in areas ranging from the selection of building materials to the use of energy-efficient bulbs.