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  • June 19th, 2024

A Case Study on Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer was late to start selling its products online. We have not found a company to sell products online until the mid-2000s. As a result, it stayed behind its opponents and they declared that they have reduced 8.1% in sales and that is why their share price also plunged in July 2014. 

The CEO and the other officials considering the severe dips in income balanced the e-commerce platform of Marks and Spencer. Then they launched the website of the company and it was not so successful. 

According to the consumers, the website is not working properly, they could not click the checkout buttons, we’re unable to utilize the search filters for size, the products were not available in sufficient quantity, and the products are vanishing from their shopping basket at the time of check out, and many more. 

That is why the company could not beat the contest in 2018 due to poor e-commerce. They only sold 18.5% of their apparel and home sales online. They declared to close the shops as they could not meet the development goal of 33% in 2022. They had only 5% development per year. 

But due to the losses, the company decided to design and apply unique e-commerce development policies. Let’s have a look at the case study of Marks and Spencer. 

The History of Marks and Spencer 

The company started its journey in 1884 in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer were the founders of the company. 

Michael Marks was a polished British businessperson who purchased products from Dewhirst and sold them in nearby places. As soon as it became successful, Marks opened a stall in Leeds where you may get each product for a penny. 

Thomas Spencer was an aspiring British businessperson who held the post of a cashier at the wholesale company of I.J. Dewhirst. 

Marks told I.J Dewhirst to start a business with him so that he may open a shop but Dewhirst did not accept his proposal and suggested Marks talk to his cashier, Thomas Spencer. Spencer thought about the offer of Marks and then decided to invest £300 in exchange for half of the share of the company. In this way, the first store of Marks and Spencer was started. 

When they first started the store in 1884, it only sold the best quality apparel and household products. But in the previous decade, it has also started to sell foods. 

Recently, you will find more than 950 stores of Marks and Spencer all over the Uk only. The headquarters of the company is located in Westminster, London. 

How did the Realm of Marks And Spencer Almost Fall?

In the late 1990s, the revenue of Marks and Spencer increased but the company started to undergo a problem by the 2000s. Various reasons decreased the revenue of the company. 

First of all, the supply chain policy of the company required an overhaul. The company satisfied the British by utilizing regional suppliers. But the prices of the suppliers in the UK started to hike and the revenue of the company started to suffer. 

At the time the company chose to begin importing and it was too late when the idea came to their mind. 

The company failed to attract the British people and paid a high amount to stay with the British suppliers for a long time. 

Another reason for the deterioration of the company is that it was too late when the company started to accept various kinds of payment. We have seen that the company did not accept any other credit card until 2001 excluding its own Change Card. 

The company closed the unprofitable shops very soon. In May 2018 the company declared that they are going to close more than 100 stores of Marks and Spencer within 2022. 

Internationalization of Marks and Spencer 

The company only sold goods made by the British and for this, it gained a lot of reliable consumers. But the company thought it is essential to develop both domestically and internationally. 

That is why, the company launched its first Asian shop in Kabul, Afghanistan and after that, it opened multiple stores in various European cities. 

The shop in Paris became successful but all other stores were not so successful. They sold 18 non-profit-able stores in Europe in 2001. It was too late when the company tried to make it modern and hence they had to close a few stores.

When the company failed to conquer the regional customers in China, it appointed Maria Roday who was an earlier alumnus of Indirex. Marys had a good stature for incorporating the deadliest customer fads. The company hired Maria as the new general manager for the market of China. 

Internationalization taught a good lesson to the company. They have understood that to expand a company it is very essential to adapt marketing policies to reach the regional customers.

E-commerce Policy of Marks And Spencer for Raising Development 

The company started to make a rebuilding plan when it faced too much anxiety from revenue and sales loss in 2009. 

They took some measures, such as they decided to close the low-profit shops to reduce their expenses, and they decided to discontinue some of the low-profit lines of the company. The CEO of the company, Marc Bolland applied a new policy to make the brand image strong and improve revenue. The company decided to make its physical shops modern and concentrate on rebuilding the e-commerce platform of the company. 

Confronting Challenges With Modifications

The only lesson the company learned from its internationalization is that a company needs to focus on the requirements of the regional customers. Bolland started to make drastic changes. He first tolled out a new layout for the physical shops in May 2011 that relied on demographics like finances and age of the areas of the shops. 

The customers complained that they are unable to navigate stores. Hence Bolland applied a new shop “navigation scheme”. The more shopping becomes easy you will get more happy clients. And we all know that satisfied consumers always spend more money. The company has become one of the leading brands now as soon as it became available both online and offline. 

Pausing Connections With Amazon

The e-commerce platform of Marks and Spencers was unsettled because of a very crucial overhaul. The online processes of the company were handled won’t through the coalition with Amazon until 2011. When the company decided to rebuild its brand image and improve multisource sales in 2014 it decided to create and handle its independent e-commerce platform.

It costs £150m to redesign the new website. Despite spending so much money it became a complete failure. 

For instance, the company compelled the prevailing consumers to register on the new website. So, the consumers get puzzled and vexed. Moreover, the minimal changes like omitting the add to basket option with Your bag make the customers confused. Moreover, the buyers were unable to click at the time of checkout. 

Never Be Araid of Failures

In the first quarter of 2014, the online sales of Marks and Spencer dropped by 8% when they introduced the new website. Bolland did not agree to accept the drawbacks of the website and their effect on online conversions at first. 

But Bolland acknowledged in 2015 that the e-commerce design was poor for which the company brought lots of changes in the first year after launching the website. 

Due to all these weaknesses, the final e-commerce objective and policy of the company moved. Now the company tried to understand the requirements of the consumers and offers them a more customized shopping venture online as well as offline. 

The company then developed an online platform that contains the main efficiencies of e-commerce, search, content handling, and analytics, for providing a personalized consumer experience. 

Though it had a few issues from the beginning, the company was never afraid to accept its errors and it learned from them. So, ultimately Marks and Spencer developed and made the company successful through e-commerce. 

The Retail Tech Transformation

The e-commerce of the company keeps on growing and it sets fads. The company becomes a digital-first chain in 2018. It aims to enhance the consumer experience in their shops and develop the ground for more development with the help of business technology. 

The company aims to boost sales by over £1bn by providing buyers with an outstanding virtual helper. To accomplish that the company would invest £25m so that they can apply the new technology. 

With the help of a virtual seller, online buyers will get a personal helper for their shopping who will interact with them throughout their entire shopping experience. 

The company that first provided this feature is none other than Marks and Spencer. When it was introduced in 2018, a lot of consumers took advantage of the consumer-oriented shopping venture on the e-commerce platform of Marks and Spencer. 

Marks and Spencer: Plan A 

The company improved its brand image with Plan A which was introduced in 2007. 

Marks and Spencers impress consumers by utilizing business methods like being the first and only carbon-neutral major vendor all over the globe. 

The company keeps its suppliers to similar anticipation: keeping high quality, security, environmental and social criteria. 

At the time of the internationalization of Marks and Spencer Plan A assisted the company to redeem its brand image with regional suppliers and buyers by interacting with their responsibilities to derivatives and reasonable business. 

E-commerce Development Lessons for Every E-commerce Administrator

Lesson #1: Better Late Than Never

The company showed how to win over everything with good effort. It is very important to understand the competitive edge, then you need to make investments and distribute them in every sales channel. 

Lesson #2: Stick to Your Soul Objective

The company has proved how to become successful without losing hope and moving from the goal. 

Lesson #3: Build on Your Offline Competitive Edge

The company has successfully made its offline image too and beat the competitors efficiently. 

What Are the Business Stats of Marks and Spencer?

The business stats of Marks and Spencer is as follows: 

  • Marks and Spencer has nearly 1463 M&S shops all over the globe. 
  • The company now has about 979 shops all over the UK along with 615 where only good products are sold. 
  • As of 2019, the calculated revenue of the company is nearly £10.4 billion, and about 89% of the revenue has derived from the British market. 
  • The largest sold product of the company is food. The sales of the company reached £6 billion in 2018. 
  • The e-commerce revenue of the company in 2016 and 2017 is nearly £836 million. 
  • The company contains North Coast, Limited collection, Per Una, Portfolio, Autograph, Indigo collection, Marks and Spencer, Classic Collection, and so on. 

Final opinion

There are many layers in the case study of Marks and Spencer. All the layers contain different tactics so that the company may become successful and improve development rates. My Assignment Writing Help can be your ultimate solution if you are looking for expert help for your case study paper. 


  1. Why has Marks and Spencer’s become successful?

The past success of the company relied on a philosophy of value for money, quality and service. It had developed an incredibly powerful brand which had an inducement to a high percentage of the middle market in the UK who had strong brand loyalty. The company was very choosy in having quality places and quite simply product ranges. 

  1. What is M & S’s goal?

The goal of the company is to develop a sustainable business through continuous, profitable development and to make sure we act properly in fulfilling our responsibility to stakeholders and wider shareholders. 

  1. Who are the biggest competitors of Marks and Spencer?

The biggest competitors of Marks and Spencer are as follows: 

  • Debenhams.
  • Tesco.
  • Asda.
  • Aldi UK.
  • John Lewis Partnership.
  • Waitrose & Partners.
  • Lawson.
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