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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

M&S - A PRAYER TO ST MICHAEL

This is what I took out of the M&S performance update today:


13 weeks to end of March: Sales dropped 0.7% - I contributed to the drop. I shop a lot less in M&S - love the food offers but can't stand the queues.
Apparently could have sold 300,000 knitwear items rather than 100,000 - ran out of stock!
Jubilee/Union Jack bunting selling well - God save the Queen!
1% rise in food sales (very tempting offers), 2.8% drop in general merchandise 
International sales drop of 2%; strong in India, China, the Gulf and flagship Paris; weak in Republic of Ireland and Greece (not surprising); plans to open 3% more UK shop space and 20% more international shop space


CEO Marc Bolland: "While the short-term trading outlook continues to be challenging, we are focused on investing in line with our plan and are making strong progress against our goal of becoming an international, multi-channel retailer." 


The results are not disastrous, just an illustration of the continuing challenges in retailing generally and with the once-guaranteed behemoths specifically. Tesco tomorrow will be an interesting case study too.


For customers, in my opinion and experience, M&S needs to focus on the following:


Slicker, quicker checkout service ("Sorry to keep you waiting" - doesn't cut it)
Maintaining attractive and popular food offers/deals - big plus.
More "door busting" non-food promotions - learn from the M&S food team, maybe.
Less fancy advertising, perhaps. (Straw poll amongst a couple of dozen people suggests that celebrity involvement does not entice people to buy or to buy more.)

And now a prayer:


"Oh, blessed St Michael,
we implore,
give us better offers and service
in each M&S store,
we join our hands
and we hope and pray
that you'll deliver your plans
before Judgement Day."





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