Category Archives: The In & Out

M&S = Messy & Superfluous!

The week that was. The retail boys have delivered… or rather underdelivered. ‘Drastic Dave’ of Tesco clearly taking the top spot, judging by the s/p reaction that is. ‘Cool Coupe’ of Sainsbury’s hasn’t done badly, either, but, right now, the City is hot… and cool doesn’t quite cut the mustard. Left on the shelf, poor ‘Bolly Bolland’ who really is struggling trying to keep his vessel afloat.

So what’s going wrong at M&S? The answer is surprisingly simple. In a recent interview, retail consultant Richard Hyman put his finger on the spot: “The market today is different in every conceivable way to that associated with the golden ages.” In recent months, there have already been two high-pofile defections. The M&S managers who decided to leave the sinking ship before it’s too late are Jan Heere, outgoing Director of International Operations and Chief Finance Officer Alan Stewart who recently left for Tesco’s.

It is, of course, not Bolland’s fault. It’s nobody’s fault. The food may be nice (Pinkers loves the Cauliflower Cheese!) but the truth is less palatable: The business model itself is redundant. Selling baked beans alongside ladies knickers? Let’s face it…: The simple truth of the matter is nobody in their right mind would invent M&S in today’s retail environment and not even a magician could turn this business around. It’s almost surprising it wasn’t wiped out with the last dinosaurs 66 million years ago. A classic case of redundant retail!

Further reading: The Sains go marching in!