The chain would offer “better value and more promotions across the business, while at the same time tightly controlling our costs”, he said. “Beware cheap imitations,” he warned.
However on a more optimistic note he predicted people would shun nights out in favour of cosy evenings in with an M&S meal. “As long as we have the availability and show them we have the right things, we will fight our corner,” he added.
Food availability had been “an irritation, not a serious problem, but it is a problem”, he added. The trading statement for the 13 weeks to 27 September 2008 showed group sales up 0.4%, buoyed by strong international and online growth. But UK like-for-likes were down 6.1%.
“While these are not exactly glowing figures, they are not the over-the-cliff disaster that many investors had feared,” said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Keith Bowman.