Blog: Is 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.
To follow on from our earlier notice and after some hard work from our technical team, just-food is back live after today's power outage....
Much of the UK has felt the impact of Storm Doris today - and just-food's head office has been no exception....
A year after union officials alleged Fyffes abused workers on plantations in Central America - and called on the produce giant to be kicked out of the Ethical Trading Initiative forum - the company is...
Much of the chatter about where 3G Capital could look next has centred on packaged food - but might the private-equity fund be about to extend its foodservice empire?...
- US food next wave on display at Winter Fancy Food
- Does Kraft Heinz want to swallow Unilever whole?
- Comment: Meal kits in US - don't believe the hype
- Focus: Nestle CEO plan to balance sales, earnings
- Wessanen eyes growth in "resurgent" organic market
- Unilever launches operational review
- Kraft Heinz pulls Unilever bid
- Kerry operating earnings strengthen on slow sales
- General Mills issues profit warning
- Glanbia focuses on nutrition with Irish dairy spin