Marks and Spencer Ltd

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Marks and Spencer Ltd

Company Overview + Status
* M&S had grown to be the largest and most profitable retail organization in the UK. * products: selective range of textiles, housewares, footwear, and food items aimed at rapid turn-over under private St. Michael label. * Textile: women/men/children’s clothing; 48% of sales; 55% of profits * Food: produce, meat, prepared foods, French wines; 40% of sales; 55% of profits * Others: floor coverings, footwear, etc… 12% of sales and profits * value proposition: very high quality at moderate, rather than low, prices; ie: good value * Stores (1988): UK=289, EU=11, Canada=267, US=4 small stores, extensions of Canada * Management: buying, merchandising, distribution, finance for UK centralized in London * EU + NA operations autonomous with guidance from UK

* UK doing very well (11% profit); EU OK but stagnant; Can + ROW: not so good (2%?)

Philosophy + History
* 1884: Founder - Michael Marks philosophy: ‘Don’t ask the price – It’s one penny’ * Streamlined accounting to focus more on search for high-quality products * High-turn over counterbalanced low profit margins

* 1903: took Thomas Spencer into partnership and M&S was born * 1914-1955: son builds on founding father’s strategy
* emphasis on new technologies, social service to customers & employees * influenced by trip to US, adopts ‘superstores’ concept, registers St,Michael brand * 1926: goes public

* 1950s: phase-out all non-brand name products
* 1956-1980: operations simplifications + paternalistic philosophy * company-wide campaign to reduce paperwork following severe expenses increase * sensible approximation, exception reporting, don’t legislate exceptions, trust people * liberate staff form administrative duties to focus on clients and increase sales * paternalistic employee relationship: medical & pension plans,...
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