A Marks & Spencer store in Paris has shut its doors after experiencing weeks of food shortages and delays of fresh food imports from the UK.
The Chaussée d’Antin branch, which is one of 20 stores in the country, has closed for the final time following weeks of empty shelves – although the company says the closure is not related to delivery problems caused by Brexit.
It comes just weeks after M&S stores in France started running out of food as Brexit rules were blamed for millions of pounds worth of meat exports from Britain being left to rot in Rotterdam and Calais.
The Marks & Spencer store in Chaussée d’Antin, Paris, has shut its doors for the final time. Pictured: Shoppers outside the Champs Elysee store in Paris
Last month it was revealed that shelves in the supermarket’s food halls in Paris and Lille had been left bare after the company became the latest to be affected by Brexit border delays – with lorries trying to cross the Channel being held up for days.
Among the products that appeared to be affected were sandwiches, biscuits and ready meals such as curries.
An M&S spokesman confirmed at the time that the lack of groceries was a result of ‘Brexit teething problems’ disrupting supply chains.
Many M&S sandwiches are made by the ready meal giant Greencore, which has a plant in Northampton. However, it is unclear if the delayed goods came from this location.
In January, fresh salads were out of stock at an M&S store in a shopping centre in the Porte Maillot district of western Paris.
A sign said that because of new trade rules, ‘we have not been able to receive our delivery today.’
Fresh salads and pasta dishes were also out of stock at a second store, on Franklin Roosevelt Avenue near the Champs Elysees.
At a third branch, on Boulevard Montmartre in central Paris, shelves of ready-to-eat fresh food were empty. An employee said the supply disruption was because of ‘Brexit and the New Year.’
A spokesman for Lagardere, the French firm which holds the franchise for some of the stores in France, said it was working with M&S on the supply disruptions and expected the problems to be fixed by the end of January.
The scenes came as British butchers said shipments had been suffering from tight customs rules.
Last month images emerged of half-empty food shelves at a number of M&S stores in France
At an M&S supermarket in Lille shelves stood empty amid an issue with post-Brexit supply chains
In January items were out of stock at a Paris branch and a sign read: ‘Due to new UK/EU import legislation, we’re sorry some of your favourites might be missing’
One exporter told The Times that there had been five containers of fresh pork held in the Dutch port of Rotterdam for a fortnight after a problem with a veterinary certificate being filled in incorrectly.
Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association, said: ‘The new post-Brexit customs system for meat products is convoluted, archaic and badly implemented.
‘If continental supermarkets are unable to have products delivered the way they need them to be, this trade will simply be lost as EU customers abandon UK suppliers and source product from European processors’.
Fresh food still goes through a number of checks when travelling from Britain. Pictured: Trucks rolling onto a ferry at the Port of Dover
Despite Britain’s new trade deal with the EU, fresh food still needs to go through a number of checks when travelling from Britain, including including a safety examination to ensure it complies with the bloc’s rules.
However fresh food coming into Britain from the EU does not have to be checked due to a six-month embargo to ensure imports continue to flow smoothly.
MailOnline has contacted Marks & Spencer for comment.