Blog: Dean BestIs Sir Stuart's optimism misplaced?

Dean Best | 5 November 2008

Sir Stuart Rose, the boss of UK retailer Marks and Spencer, is nothing if not a confirmed optimist.

At the press briefing on M&S's half-year results, the company's executive chairman was determined to look for positives despite the fall in the retailer's profits and deepening concern over the state of the UK economy.

While he admitted that the economic downturn has affected M&S across food and clothing, and while he acknowledged that trading remained “volatile”, Sir Stuart insisted that M&S should stick to its guns and be proud of its position as a “quality foods” retailer.

Nevertheless, he was quick to emphasise that M&S was competing more fiercely on price in a bid to win over consumers looking for a value.

“We're now cheaper than Waitrose and we're on a par with Sainsbury’s on some prices,” he claimed.

When pushed on how M&S prices stacked up versus those at Waitrose, Sir Stuart stood by his guns, insisting that his products would win out as cheaper against those of his rival. “Let's get our products on the table and we can have a good punch-up,” he joked, referring to his Waitrose counterpart Mark Price.

Joking aside, M&S will face an ongoing battle to win over consumers convinced that its products are too expensive. Moreover, with the company's moves to lower prices and continue its promotional activity, there will be continued pressure on margins, which could ultimately lead to some pain for suppliers.


BLOG

Barilla puts sustainability centre stage

Barilla's 2016 results statement, published last week, makes interesting reading, not because of the Italian food group's commercial performance, but for the emphasis placed on sustainability achievem...

BLOG

UK M&A deal volumes slide in early months of 2017

Fresh data from Grant Thornton indicates the number of mergers and acquisitions in the UK food and drink sector fell to the lowest level for over two years in the first quarter of in 2017 - but the ac...

BLOG

Food policy returns to focus in Westminster

Amid the political turmoil in the UK caused by the EU Referendum, the resignation of a Prime Minister, subsequent burning debates over the Brexit “divorce” settlement and now by the surprise announcem...

BLOG

Danone closes WhiteWave, who will acquire Stonyfield?

Danone completed its US$12.5bn acquisition of WhiteWave Foods this week. The move will roughly double Danone's presence in North America, where WhiteWave is a top four dairy player. ...

just-food homepage



Forgot your password?