Marks and Spencer: Summary Report of the Case Study
Marks and Spencer (M&S) is a leading UK retailer selling clothing, food, and housewares. In 2007, the company put sustainability at the heart of its business. In order to succeed, it would have to change the attitudes and the behavior of its shoppers. As a result, it launched Plan A which set out a five year plan involving 100 social and environmental commitments that were expected to shape the future of the company. Plan A would allow the company to resolve some of the big issues facing their business. They called it Plan A because there is “no B when it comes to conserving the earth’s finite resources” (Marks & Spencer Website).
Brief Background on Company
In 1884, Michael Marks started the company by selling an assortment of goods in an open-air stall in Leeds, UK. In the 1920’s, the company went public and expanded into general merchandise and ready-to-wear clothing. By the 1970’s, the company had become a British icon and a household name. However, from the 1980’s to 1993 came the troubled years. Despite the expansion of its operations in the 1980’s, the retailer had failed to keep current with its shopper’s preferences and this led to financial woes. From 1994 to 2006, it was back to the basics for the company. By 1996, it had rebounded to become the UK’s most profitable retailer. However, this recovery was short lived, and M&S experienced a significant slump in business in 1999 which continued into the early 2000’s with profits and sales declining significantly. “In 2004, Sir Stuart Rose was brought in to lead the company’s out of a crisis”. In 2007, Rose launched Plan A which was a new eco-plan initiative which he believed would be a cornerstone of the company’s competitive positioning in the years to come. M&S’ vision was to be the standard against which others are measured. The focus of the Plan A strategy was to improve the sustainability of the business....
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