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M&S is a leading British retailer bringing quality, great value food, clothing and homeware to millions of customers around the world

Our food is known for its quality, freshness and innovation credentials

In 2018 we acknowledged that our Food business had become too premium and lost some of its broader appeal. While customers still recognised us for quality, the competition had worked hard to match our success by copying our innovation and fresh product ranges and we hadn’t kept up. The challenges were compounded by our outdated supply chain, with excessive waste, poor availability and high operating costs eroding our profits.

We were clear that we needed to protect the things that make M&S Food special: industry-leading quality,  exceptional sourcing and famous innovation. But against the relentless rise of the discounters at one end, and supermarket price competition at the other, M&S had to become more relevant, more often – with great value, everyday prices and products that appeal to a family customer.

Under the direction of our Food Managing Director, Stuart Machin, our new leadership team is injecting much needed pace and energy into our transformation. The team was strengthened by the arrival of our new Commercial Director, George Wright, who joined us from Tesco in April 2019, and the return of April Preston in November 2018 as Product Development Director, as well as other important leadership appointments.

Despite underlying progress this year,our transformation in Clothing & Home is yet to be reflected in like-for-like sales. While we saw a rise in customer numbers and growth in our online Clothing & Home sales ahead of the market, we remain at the early stages of our programme. Our aspiration is to be famous for contemporary, wearable style at great value. Our efforts in restoring our style credentials and value perceptions made progress and saw some wins this year. Sales of our £15 women’s jeggings were up 30% over the campaign period. And when we got the product fit and price right for the contemporary, family-age customer we aim to appeal to – such as our denim campaign case study above – we saw product fly off the shelves. But all too often our initial tentative steps to buying in depth meant many of the most popular lines sold out prematurely and our sales were constrained by poor availability.

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