Marks & Spencer must regain its food crown in terms of quality, the retailer’s chief executive, Stuart Rose, has said.
Speaking at the British Council of Shopping Centres annual conference and retail showcase in Belfast, Rose admitted that M&S had lost its way as other retailers had moved into the traditional M&S territory and done things better.
To achieve a turnaround, Rose said M&S had added 140 new lines to its Cook range.
It is also improving 450 further lines, aiming for
both health and quality.
The retailer is also extending its hot food-to-go experiment this month to its stores in Finsbury Pavement, Bromley and Birmingham. Next year, it will redevelop its Sprucefield store near Lisburn in Northern Ireland, creating 370 jobs, and open a new 40,000 sq ft store in Newtownabbey near Belfast.
Rose also revealed that M&S is planning a major roll-out of its new store design. Getting its store environments right, he added, was a fundamental part of the retailer’s recovery plan.
M&S is due to announce its interim results on Tuesday (November 8).
Rose revealed that this would “include a significant thumbs up in terms of the roll-out of new designs”.
On a different note, Rose criticised those in the press who continued to refer to M&S as “troubled”.
He said: “Don’t forget that we made £600m in profit last year and analysts are saying we will make £700m this year.”
M&S trialled five of its new store formats last year, including at Basingstoke and Edgware Road in London. It is planning to have a further 20 up and running by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, analysts said they were expecting “no real surprises” from M&S’s interims.
Last month the retailer recorded a 6.3% increase in food sales for the second quarter to October 1 and a 2.7% increase in like-for-like food sales compared with an increase of 0.7% in the first quarter.
It expects interim pre-tax profits to be around the upper end of market expectations.
One analyst noted: “Rose will be in a pretty confident mood. We’ve already seen a bit of excitement and signs of recovery. It will look good compared with the rest of the retail sector.”
Ronan Hegarty & Beth Brooks