Marks & Spencer to push own brand

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Marks & Spencer: international expansion

Marks & Spencer is promoting its own label products with the launch of a new advertising strapline, Only at M&S.

According to the food, clothing and homewares retailer, the latest brand positioning is designed to show it leads the market by developing unique products and M&S-only lines.

At the same time, it is culling three quarters of the branded food products it had introduced to 100 lines but introducing an additional 100 international brands, which will be exclusive to M&S.

Announcing its half year results for the 26 weeks ending 2 October 2010, Marks & Spencer said the space in its food halls is currently under-utilised and better use of space will enable it to increase the range from 7,000 to 8,000 lines.

“Our focus however will be on developing products unique to M&S and characterised by innovation and superb eating quality, inspired by the Best of British and Flavours of the World,” it said.

Marks & Spencer plans to expand its international presence too.

It currently trades from 337 stores in 41 territories with international sales up 3.8% to £462m in the first half.

“We have an opportunity to move on from this and become a more international retailer, reducing our dependency on the UK economic cycle,” said Marks & Spencer, and it is targeting international sales (excluding Republic of Ireland) of between £800m to £1bn by 2013/14.

“Instead of ‘planting flags’ we aim to build a leadership position in priority markets,” it said.

Marks & Spencer said it had already built a strong presence in markets like Turkey and the Czech Republic by opening a flagship store surrounded by a cluster of smaller, supporting stores.

“We will continue to build local leadership in core markets in this way. We will also enter selected countries with our on-line capability to complement our stores on the ground, setting up tailored websites for specific local markets from 2013.”

In the UK, Marks & Spencer is aiming for 95% of the population to be within 30 minutes drive of a full-line M&S store by 2015 and is stepping up its expansion.

It plans to increase the number of Simply Food stores, refresh stores, and increase coverage via relocations and new openings.

Marks & Spencer is also investing in its multi-channel operations, including Shop Your Way, an ordering and delivery service, with the aim of growing sales to between £800m to £1bn by 2013/14.

In food, Marks & Spencer said it aimed to grow its online wine, flower, and food to order business from £80m to £150m by 2013/14.

“We will continue to evaluate a full online food offer but do not intend to build that capability at present,” it said.

Instead, the retailer is providing new opportunities for customers to shop with Marks & Spencer with the introduction of touch-screen, web-based ordering points in stores.