Sadly, the star of the show failed to appear. Not Sir Stuart Rose, whose Live at the Improv-style stand-up routine failed to garner many laughs from stony-faced shareholders; no, conspicuous by its absence was Mark the Shark, the aquatic PR bio-weapon.
Readers will doubtless recall that trade union commissars from the GMB had vowed to upstage Sir Stuart by bringing a four-foot juvenile Jaws to the meeting in a portable aquarium.
Rather than implying the whole business would soon be under water, the move was a subtle attempt to highlight the predatory instincts of M&S top brass – something shareholders might actually want to see more of. However, last-minute talks between M&S and the union over the closure of a supplier led to a deal. The shark didn’t show.
“Maybe the threat of the shark brought them to the table,” jested one union official, although the thought of yet more negative press was probably as appetising to M&S management as swimming a few laps of Amity Island.