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We’re Winning Back Middle Class Shoppers From Waitrose, Says M&S

Marks & Spencer has said it is winning shoppers from Waitrose as its chief executive declared a record number of customers bought groceries with the retailer over Christmas.

Stuart Machin said the FTSE 100 retailer was taking market share from rivals and intended to make further gains this year by investing in prices.

His challenge comes as the battle between M&S and Waitrose sits on a knife edge, with the latest industry data giving both a 3.8pc share of the grocery market in the 12 weeks to December 30.

Asked on Thursday whether he expected M&S to overtake Waitrose soon, Mr Machin said: “I know every retailer talks about the gains and the losses, but we have taken share from some of the competition – and you named one [Waitrose].

“I think it’s fair to say we think we can gain share from the broader food market overall. We’re not focused on just one competitor.”

On grocery price competition, Mr Machin said M&S was investing £50m this financial year, including £22m in the last three months of 2023, and “intends to invest more in value”.

Stuart Machin

He said the grocer’s “commitment is to not put prices up” but refused to rule out any future price increases.

Mr Machin added: “But our job is to keep restructuring our cost base, so it doesn’t impact the customer. That’s what we’re focused on.”

He was speaking as M&S revealed a record number of customers bought groceries from the chain’s food business over Christmas, with many going there for “more of their full shop” than previously.

In Thursday’s announcement, the company said its so-called renewal stores – those that have been refurbished – had performed “particularly well” over Christmas.

They are designed to “offer the efficiency of a supermarket and the soul of a fresh food market”, with market-style displays that carry more fresh fruit and vegetables and bakery products as well as “fill your own” sections, wine tasting and ceramic pizza ovens.


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