Marks & Spencer joined forces with Joanna Lumley to launch new initiative Spark Something Good

LONDON, 2015-8-3— /EPR Retail News/ — Marks & Spencer (M&S) has today joined forces with Joanna Lumley to launch Spark Something Good. The new initiative aims to inspire and motivate employees and customers around the country to grab a shovel, pick up a paintbrush and take action for social good – donating time to their local communities to improve lives up and down the country.

Today in London, M&S, its customers and employees, along with members of local communities, will be completing 24 community projects around the capital in 24 hours. Led by Joanna and CEO Marc Bolland, the company aims to spark its 34 million customers into action by showing just what can be achieved in just one day when people come together united by a common goal.

Projects set to be completed within 24 hours include the transformation of an unused central London rooftop into a colourful children’s play area, renovating a community farmyard, providing a new dining room for a busy soup kitchen and the planting of an edible garden. Projects include St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington and Brixton Soup Kitchen.

The launch will kick off projects in a further 24 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland over the next 24 months.

A newly created Spark Something Good website –www.marksandspencer.com/getinvolved – has been developed in partnership with the social network for social good, Neighbourly.com. The site shows the local fundraising and volunteering opportunities that every one of M&S’ owned stores are involved in. Every store has chosen a local charity of the year to fundraise for and support, meaning customers who can’t volunteer time or skills have the opportunity to make a difference in the community through donations in store.

The site incorporates project information from the Neighbourly.com social network which acts as a matchmaking service between local projects and people who want to help. M&S is a founding partner of Neighbourly.com.

Connecting with this wider network enables M&S customers and employees to get involved with their local community, from spending time with the elderly, to renovating community facilities, it will enable them to take part in positive action in their own backyard. Through the digital platform people will also be empowered to promote their own community projects and in doing so find new sources of funding and collaboration partners to make a difference in the communities they live and work in.

M&S developed Spark Something Good following extensive research and dialogue which revealed that getting involved in community projects enhanced people’s lives.

Joanna Lumley, M&S Spark Something Good ambassador, comments: “This isn’t just about today or even tomorrow. It’s about the cumulative effect of people giving back to their community over time. We want to make people happy and spark a relay of good deeds across the nation and we need your help now! The potential is simply enormous.

“People tell us they’d like to support local charities and they want to give hands-on help and see lives being changed. Donating time is just as valuable as giving money and is often more rewarding.”

Marc Bolland, Marks & Spencer CEO, said: “M&S people and customers have always helped in their local community, by working together we know we can achieve even more by volunteering or making a donation to a charity that matters locally. We know the positive impact it can have and that a healthy high street needs a healthy community to support it. That’s why we’re making it easy to get involved and asking our people and customers to Spark Something Good.”

Nick Davies, Founder of Neighbourly adds: “Finding community projects and matching them to people willing to help has always been difficult. We have worked with Marks & Spencer to bring the latest digital technology to empower the public to get involved with community projects on their own doorsteps. Anyone can take part and importantly it’s about people with energy, good ideas and vision. You don’t need to be a formal charity to get your idea off the ground. You just need a bright idea for social good. With the help of M&S and Spark Something Good, we can then direct local energy and enthusiasm to exactly where it is needed.”

Whatever an individual’s passion – from photography to DIY and gardening to cookery – there will be something for everyone on the Neighbourly network so that people can ensure their skills are put to use in their communities.

Spark Something Good is part of Plan A, M&S’s ground-breaking eco and ethical programme. M&S has a long history of giving something back to the community. In the past seven years M&S has raised more than £50 million for charity partners, raised £15 million for Oxfam through its Shwopping initiative and encouraged its employees to volunteer by allowing an annual, paid volunteer day.

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Further information

UNITY PR, 0207 440 9810

hazel@hellounity.com, mariana@hellounity.com or alice@hellounity.com

About Plan A
Plan A is Marks & Spencer’s sustainable business plan that tackles both today’s and tomorrow’s sustainable retail challenges. Launched in 2007, the plan is focused on customer, employee and supplier engagement and includes commitments that tackle issues such as climate change, waste, raw materials, health and being a fair partner.

About Neighbourly
Neighbourly.com is the internet platform that connects local projects with people and organisations who want to help. They do this by breaking down traditional barriers to finding and giving help – neighbourly is a friendly network of companies, individuals, charities, councils, institutions and community groups.

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Marks and Spencer Group plc announces that John Dixon, Executive Director, General Merchandise will leave to pursue career opportunities outside of the company

LONDON, 2015-7-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — Marks and Spencer Group plc (“M&S”) today announces that John Dixon, Executive Director, General Merchandise, has decided to leave the business to pursue career opportunities outside of the company. He will step down from the Board with immediate effect and leave the company on a date to be agreed.

In line with our succession plans, Steve Rowe will take on responsibility for General Merchandise and Andy Adcock, currently Trading Director, Food, will step up to be Director of Food, reporting to Marc Bolland on an interim basis.

Steve has been with M&S for over 26 years, starting his career in store management. He has significant experience having worked in many areas of M&S with roles in Food, Retail, General Merchandise and Ecommerce. In his current role as Executive Director, Food, Steve has been instrumental in ensuring that M&S has maintained its specialist positioning and continued to outperform in a challenging market.

Commenting on the announcement, Robert Swannell, Chairman of Marks and Spencer Group plc said: “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank John for his service over many years and his many contributions to the business in that time. I am delighted that Steve has been appointed to head up General Merchandise and wish him every success in his new role.”

Marc Bolland, Chief Executive Officer, said: “On behalf of the team and all our colleagues at M&S, I would like to thank John for his contribution to the business. I am delighted to appoint Steve to the role of Executive Director, General Merchandise. Steve has outstanding experience working across the business and is well placed to take the General Merchandise business forward. I look forward to continuing to work closely with him.”

John Dixon said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed many happy and successful years at M&S. I now have the opportunity to become a Chief Executive and have therefore resigned from this great company. I wish it, and all my colleagues, every continued success.”

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For further information, please contact:

Corporate Press Office
0208 718 1919

MARKS AND SPENCER QUARTER 4 2014/15: Food outperformed the market; General Merchandise performance improved

MARKS AND SPENCER GROUP PLC QUARTER 4 2014/15 TRADING STATEMENT 13 WEEKS TO 28 MARCH 2015

LONDON, 2015-4-4 — /EPR Retail News/ — ‘Food outperformed the market; General Merchandise performance improved’

Marks & Spencer continued to make strong progress against its four priorities for the year:

1) Food business outperformed the market

  • Another strong performance in a difficult market: sales +3.7%; LFL +0.7%
  • Specialist positioning continues to set us apart; record Valentine’s sales
  • New Simply Food stores performing well

2) GM and Womenswear sales performance improved

  • General Merchandise: sales +1.3%, LFL +0.7%
  • Customers recognising continued improvement in product quality and styling
  • M&S.com sales back in growth as planned: sales +13.8%

3) General Merchandise gross margin improvement on track

  • Good progress on gross margin: guidance unchanged at +150 to +200bps
  • Full price sales up, discount participation slightly lower

4) Strong cash generation

  • Improved operating costs performance: guidance improved from c. +2.0% to c. +1.5%
  • Continued tight control of costs and capital expenditure

Marc Bolland, Chief Executive, said:

“We have made strong progress over the quarter. In Food we delivered another excellent performance, with sales growth ahead of the market. We continued to deliver on General Merchandise gross margin, and are pleased that we have achieved this whilst also improving General Merchandise sales. M&S.com has returned to growth, as planned, with further improvement in customer metrics.”

Trading summary

Food sales grew both at total and like-for-like level, as our specialist positioning continued to deliver results, in a difficult, deflationary quarter for the food market. Customers turned to us for special times of the year as well as everyday quality they can trust. We had a record Valentine’s Day and launched over 350 new products over the quarter. We continue to invest in price in order to stay competitive while protecting the gross margin, with full year guidance of +10 to +30bps unchanged.

General Merchandise performance improved this quarter, driven by continued focus on product quality and styling. Our Spring/Summer ranges have been well received by customers, as evidenced by strong improvement in customer research scores, as well as great fashion press coverage, including that of our iconic suede skirt. In line with our plan for the year, we promoted less and focused more on full price sales. However, this was partly off-set by more stock going into the Christmas sale as a result of the unseasonal conditions through the Autumn/Winter season.

Macro-economic issues particularly in our Russia, Ukraine and Turkey franchise partnership, coupled with further weakening in the Euro, have significantly impacted International second half profit.  Our key priority markets such as India continue to perform well.

M&S.com sales returned to growth as planned, with the website metrics including traffic, conversion and customer satisfaction continuing to improve. Our new distribution centre at Castle Donington performed well during the quarter.

Against the backdrop of recovering consumer confidence but continuing low inflation, our strategy remains to become an International Multi-channel retailer with focus on: General Merchandise gross margin and sales; cash flow and continuing growth in Food sales.

Marks and Spencer Group plc will report its full year results on 20 May 2015.

 

Fourth quarter sales

13 weeks to

28 March 2015

Food

–          Like-for-like

+3.7%

+0.7%

General Merchandise1

–          Like-for-like

 +1.3%

+0.7%

M&S.com sales2

 

+13.8%
Total UK sales

–          Like-for-like

+2.7%

+0.7%

International sales3 -3.8%
Group sales3 +1.9%

1Clothing sales were +1.2%, LFL +0.6%

2Memo only

3Stated on ex-VAT and constant currency basis. International sales at actual currency were -6.3% and Group sales were +1.6%.

Statements made in this announcement that look forward in time or that express management’s beliefs, expectations or estimates regarding future occurrences and prospects are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United States federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements reflect Marks & Spencer’s current expectations concerning future events and actual results may differ materially from current expectations or historical results. Any such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including failure by Marks & Spencer to predict accurately customer preferences; decline in the demand for products offered by Marks & Spencer; competitive influences; changes in levels of store traffic or consumer spending habits; effectiveness of Marks & Spencer’s brand awareness and marketing programmes; general economic conditions or a downturn in the retail or financial services industries; acts of war or terrorism worldwide; work stoppages, slowdowns or strikes; and changes in financial and equity markets.

For further information, please contact: 

Investor Relations:

Majda Rainer+44 (0)20 8718 1563
Helen Cox+44 (0)20 8718 8491

Corporate Press Office:+44 (0)20 8718 1919
Out of hours calls:+44 (0)20 8718 2000

Investors & Analysts Conference Call:

This will be hosted by Marc Bolland at 8.30am on Thursday 2 April 2015:

Dial in number: +44 (0)20 3427 1901
Access Code: 8933609

A recording of this call will be available until 17 April 2015:

Dial in number: +44 (0)20 3427 0598
Access Code: 8933609

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Marks and Spencer Group Q3 update: Food business delivered another excellent quarter, significantly outperforming the market by c.3% pts

‘Very good Christmas in Food, difficult quarter in GM’

LONDON, 2015-1-8 — /EPR Retail News/ — Marks & Spencer made good progress in three of its four key priorities for the year:

1) Food growth

  • Great quarter with strong outperformance of the market: sales +2.8%; +0.1% LFL
  • Record sales, +17% in the key Christmas week
  • New stores performing well and store opening programme on track

2) Womenswear performance

  • Difficult quarter for General Merchandise: sales -5.4%, LFL -5.8%
  • Clothing sector performance impacted by unseasonal conditions in October and November
  • Disruption at our Castle Donington distribution centre affected performance in December

3) General Merchandise gross margin improvement

  • Good progress on gross margin: guidance unchanged at +150 to +200bps
  • Slightly lower discounting driven by December

4) Cash generation

  • Improved operating costs performance: guidance improved from c.+3.5% to c.+2.0%
  • Continued tight control of costs and capital expenditure

Marc Bolland, Chief Executive, said:

“M&S had a very good Christmas in Food. We delivered record Christmas sales, strongly outperforming the market. We had a difficult quarter in General Merchandise, dominated by unseasonal conditions and an unsatisfactory performance in our e-commerce distribution centre. We maintained our focus on General Merchandise gross margin, with guidance unchanged.

“I’d like to thank all of our colleagues for their exceptional hard work and commitment over the key Christmas period.”

Trading summary

Our Food business delivered another excellent quarter, significantly outperforming the market by c.3% pts. We saw record sales over the festive period, up 17% in the key Christmas week. Customers once again turned to us for our highly differentiated food offer, combining the best of quality, seasonal speciality and convenience, all at competitive prices. We launched nearly 750 new products giving customers more choice than ever, with record results in turkeys, party food, desserts and deli.

Our new website performed well operationally, even through periods of peak demand. Customer metrics including customer satisfaction and conversion continued to improve, resulting in positive sales growth through October and November.

However, disruption at our distribution centre in Castle Donington strongly impacted .com and in turn, GM performance in December. We have already made progress in addressing this and have now returned to our improved delivery proposition.

In General Merchandise, we received positive customer feedback on our Autumn/Winter Womenswear ranges. However, trading in October and November was affected by unseasonal conditions which impacted sales across the clothing sector and resulted in a highly promotional market. We deliberately held back the level of discounting especially in December. While this had an adverse impact on sales we delivered a good performance on gross margin.

Overall International business was heavily impacted by the worsening currency and macro-economic issues across our Middle East and Russia franchise region. However, our owned business performed well with strong performance in key markets such as India.

 

Third quarter sales

13 weeks to

27 December 2014

Food

–          Like-for-like

+2.8%

+0.1%

General Merchandise1

–          Like-for-like

 -5.4%

-5.8%

M&S.com sales2 -5.9%
Total UK sales

–          Like-for-like

-1.1%

-2.7%

International sales3 -5.8%
Group sales3 -1.6%

1 Clothing sales were -4.9%, LFL -5.3%

2 Memo only

3  Stated on ex-VAT and constant currency basis. International sales at actual currency were -8.8% and Group sales were -1.9%.

Outlook

Gross margin guidance remains unchanged at +150bps to +200bps for General Merchandise and +10bps to +30bps for Food. As a result of tight control of costs as well as lower volume growth, we have improved our operating cost guidance from c.+3.5% to c.+2.0%.

All other guidance remains unchanged.

Marks and Spencer Group plc will report its fourth quarter trading results on 2 April 2015.

Statements made in this announcement that look forward in time or that express management’s beliefs, expectations or estimates regarding future occurrences and prospects are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United States federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements reflect Marks & Spencer’s current expectations concerning future events and actual results may differ materially from current expectations or historical results. Any such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including failure by Marks & Spencer to predict accurately customer preferences; decline in the demand for products offered by Marks & Spencer; competitive influences; changes in levels of store traffic or consumer spending habits; effectiveness of Marks & Spencer’s brand awareness and marketing programmes; general economic conditions or a downturn in the retail or financial services industries; acts of war or terrorism worldwide; work stoppages, slowdowns or strikes; and changes in financial and equity markets.

For further information, please contact: 

Investor Relations:

Majda Rainer +44 (0)20 8718 1563
Helen Cox +44 (0)20 8718 8491

Corporate Press Office:+44 (0)20 8718 1919
Out of hours calls:+44 (0)20 8718 2000

Investors & Analysts Conference Call:
This will be hosted by Marc Bolland at 9am on Thursday 8 January 2015:

Dial in number: +44 (0)20 3427 1905
Access Code: 2395581

A recording of this call will be available until 18 January 2015:

Dial in number: +44 (0)20 3427 0598
Access Code: 2395581

Marks and Spencer Group plc announces the appointment of Helen Weir CBE to its Board as Chief Finance Officer

LONDON, 2014-11-17— /EPR Retail News/ — Marks and Spencer Group plc (M&S) announces the appointment of Helen Weir CBE to its Board as Chief Finance Officer. She will take up her appointment on a date to be confirmed.

Helen is currently Chief Financial Officer at the John Lewis Partnership. She joined John Lewis in 2012 from Lloyds Banking Group plc where she was Group Executive Director, Retail having been Group Finance Director at Lloyds from 2004-2008. Prior to this, Helen was Group Finance Director of Kingfisher plc, and Finance Director of B&Q. She spent her early career at Unilever and McKinsey & Co.

Marc Bolland, Chief Executive, M&S, said:
“We are delighted to be appointing Helen as CFO. She is extremely well qualified, and brings a wealth of relevant financial, retail and consumer experience. We look forward to her joining the M&S team.”

Helen Weir said:
“M&S is one of the UK’s great brands. This is an exciting time to be joining the company and I am delighted to be part of the team.”

For further information, please contact:
Corporate Press Office 020 8718 1919
Investor Relations 020 8718 1563

Notes to Editors:

Helen is a Non-Executive Director of SAB Miller.

Previous non-executive appointments include City of London Investment Trust Plc, Royal Mail Holdings, Supervisory Board of Hornbach Holding AG and member of the Accounting Standards Board.

Helen is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and was awarded a CBE for services to Finance in 2008.

Remuneration:

On appointment Helen will receive a basic annual salary of £590,000 and standard benefits commensurate with her position and in line with the M&S Remuneration Policy approved by shareholders in July 2014.

No share awards are being granted in relation to her appointment, however, Helen will receive a one-off payment of £188,500 to compensate for the differential in contractual pension that she is forfeiting to join M&S.

A further award for 2014/15 annual bonus foregone may also be taken into consideration.

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