The M&S Simply Food brand could soon be seen on independent BP forecourt sites around the country, if a franchise pilot - to be launched in the new year - proves successful.

As the successful partnership between M&S and BP reached its centenary last month with the opening of the 100th Simply Food concept in a BP Connect store, the oil company announced the trial of the M&S franchise format with a carefully chosen - as yet undisclosed - independent retailer.

Karen Hubbard, BP’s UK convenience retail director, said there had always been an agreement with M&S that BP would trial the franchising of its brand with dealers. "M&S is very pleased with the way the relationship is going with BP and would like to extend it further. But we don’t have company-owned locations right across the UK." However she warned that it was not for the faint hearted.

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