Marks and Spencer to Open Store in China

London, Marks and Spencer on Tuesday said it planned to open its first store in China after posting a 43% hike in net profits during its first half.

Profit after tax grew to 393.3 million pounds ($820 million dollars) in the six months to Sept. 29, compared with the first half of 2006, as shoppers flocked to its newly refurbished British stores that sell food and clothes.

“We have decided to enter China on a wholly owned basis, leveraging off the operational presence we already have in Hong Kong and Taiwan,” M&S said in its statement. “We expect our first store to open during the course of the next financial year.”

The retailer added that it was looking to expand its operations in India, which it described as “an equally exciting long-term opportunity.”