marks & spencer

Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer is one of the of the largest British retail groups. “Don’t ask the price, it’s all for a penny,” was the slogan of the Lithuanian immigrant Michael Marks, who invited the public to buy from his market stall in Leeds in 1882. Twelve years later he entered into partnership with Tom Spencer. From the market to the department store: from the beginning of the twentieth century the firm developed rapidly.

In 1907, there were already 60 shops. The balance sheet was also improved by the arrival of Marks’ son, Simon, who became director in 1911 and presided over the group, with Israel Sieff, until 1964. The firm was quoted on the London Stock Exchange in 1926 and today the chain has branches in the United States and South East Asia. All its products are sold under the Saint Michael brand.
Marks & Spencer profits were up 30.7%, closing at 646.7 million pounds (1.03 billion euros). Turnover increased (7.6 billion pounds, up 8%), thanks to the clothing range.

Marks & Spencer benefited from restructuring, which eliminated external firms from the core-business, the closure of stores in continental Europe and the sale of the Brooks Brothers brand to the Del Vecchio Group for 225 million dollars. A number of stores were renovated at a cost of 140 million pounds, while another 100 were due to be overhauled by 2003.

marks & spencer
The food Hall

The turnaround after the crisis

After three years of crisis there was a turnaround, partly aided by an improvement in the clothing lines. The View From brand of sportswear was acquired from Nova International, with a subsequent contribution of 100 million pounds to the company’s turnover. The line, created by the former Olympic champion, Brendan Foster (currently CEO of Nova International), was available at the beginning of September in 110 stores. This acquisition formed part of a policy of diversification, with the intention of integrating the Marks & Spencer brand with other lines, given the success of the Per Una collection and the menswear collection, Blue Harbour.

The company registered an increase of 14.8% in the clothing, shoes and gift sectors, while United Kingdom sales increased as a whole by 9.1%. The strongest growth took place in the womenswear sector.
Vittorio Radice, 45, chief executive of Selfridges for 7 years, joined Marks & Spencer. He has been credited with the transformation of Selfridges, with the modernisation of the London headquarters at a cost of 100 million pounds and improved retail sales in other English cities.
An increase in turnover in Great Britain of 5.4%, mainly due to the food sector (up 8.1%). Sales of clothing and gifts were also up (3.9%), while household goods were down by 1.4%.

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