Chain plans bigger food stores, lower prices and family packs to reverse sales slump.
After two years of falling food sales Marks & Spencer is fighting back with larger stores, lower prices and an increased range of fresh produce.
Family appeal will be an important part of M&S’s attempt to sell food online through a £750m joint venture with delivery specialist Ocado, which will kick off in September 2020.
The company is also trying out larger stores where M&S’s full range of more than 6,000 products will be available, with Hempstead one of the first. At present the group has only a dozen sites where all of those items are on offer. Most stock about 2,000 items, which pales besides the 25,000 items per store that major supermarkets offer at typical sites.
Highlighting those ethical standards with sustainability efforts, including cutting back on plastic use, will be part of the fightback. At Hempstead Valley for example, the company is testing cardboard containers for mushrooms and tomatoes and removing plastic bags from bread baked in store. The amount of loose produce on offer has increased 40%.
If that move is a success, it could hand M&S an additional 1% share of the grocery market according to analysts at stockbroker Liberum. This could put it on a par with – or even above – Waitrose, which is being ousted by Ocado as its food partner.
That would be a huge jump for M&S, which controls just 3.2% of the UK grocery market according to analysts at Nielsen – putting it behind Aldi and Lidl, as well as the major supermarkets including Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
Source: The Guardian