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M&S turnaround strategy shows promise with strong end-of-year results

The recent release of end-of-year results has brought encouraging news for British retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S), showcasing the potential success of its comprehensive turnaround strategy despite the presence of challenging external headwinds. Against the backdrop of historic inflation levels that have fueled strong like-for-like sales among food retailers, it is the performance of M&S’s non-food categories that stand out as a true triumph, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Recognising that traditional full-line store formats may not always measure up to competitors, M&S has undertaken a bold and accelerated initiative to revitalize and transform its stores into sought-after destinations. With the aim of catering to customers who seek value, quality, and an elevated shopping experience beyond that of other high-street retailers. M&S’s investment in omnichannel fulfilment and evolving clothing & home ranges alongside third-party brand partnerships will stand M&S in good stead to retain growth in non-food for FY2024.

Eleanor Simpson-Gould, Senior Retail Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Whilst broadening choice through the inclusion of third party brands is a positive step, M&S must maintain investment in existing ranges to distinguish from competitors John Lewis and Next.”

“As M&S focuses on ramping up omnichannel integration into stores, care must be taken not to alienate customers who prefer human interaction at the checkout.”

As M&S evolves its stores with omnichannel and tech-driven capabilities to cater to a broader customer demographic, M&S must take care to ensure store revamps do not alienate a core customer base valuing face-to-face interaction. While embracing technology is essential, it is crucial to address the needs of in-store shoppers who prefer human touchpoints. Ensuring availability of self-checkouts and manned tills at all times is a simple and effective way to cater to all customers.

Simpson-Gould concludes: “M&S’s confidence in its strategy for building sustainable growth looks set to last as the retailer confirmed the return of shareholder dividends in 2023. For the coming year, all eyes will be on M&S to prove this new strategy is a sustained recipe for growth.”

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