Marks & Spencer (M&S) confirmed this Thursday that it has signed an agreement with its long-term franchise partner Voici La Mode Group for the purchase of three M&S owned stores in Romania. As a result of the deal, the griup will be the new franchisee for M&S on the Romanian market.

Voici La Mode Group has worked in partnership with Marks & Spencer since 1960 and operates four M&S franchised stores in Nicosia, Cyprus. The group is also looking to bring other international brands to the Romanian market.

Marks & Spencer and Voici La Mode Group have agreed the terms of the sale and are now entering a final period to complete the sale, which includes final discussions with landlords and the operational preparation for the transfer. The three Marks & Spencer stores are located in Plaza Romania, Bucharest Mall and Feeria. These stores will continue to operate as usual during the final period before the sale completes.

M&S has made the decision to close the stores in the autumn, as it didn’t find a viable alternative for its remaining three stores located at Iasi, Mega Mall Bucharest, City Park Constanta.

Jonathan Glenister, Marks & Spencer’s International Retail director, said: “In November we set out our plans to create a more sustainable, profitable and customer-focused international business for M&S by focussing on our established partnerships. Over the last fifty years we’ve built a strong franchise business with Voici La Mode Group in Cyprus and we are looking forward to working together to continue to serve our customers in Romania. It is never easy to make decisions which impact our people and we would like to thank our employees in Romania for their professionalism and patience throughout this process.”

“We will focus on re-establishing Marks & Spencer as the go to destination in Romania for high quality, great value products,” added Artemis Antoniadou, CEO of Voici La Mode Group.

The move follows Marks & Spencer’s strategic review of its international business in November 2016.