Marks & Spencer

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Marks & Spencer

legal form Public Limited Company
ISIN GB0031274896
founding 1884
Seat Lancing , United KingdomUnited KingdomUnited Kingdom 
management Archie Norman, Chairman
Steve Rowe ( CEO )
Number of employees 78,597
sales 10337000000 GBP
Branch retail trade
As of March 30, 2019

Marks & Spencer is a large UK retail company . The company is next to the supermarket chains Tesco , Sainsbury’s , ASDA (part of Wal-Mart ), Morrisons , u. a. one of the largest retail companies in the UK. It operates over 375 retail stores across the UK, most of which are downtown department stores. It is listed on the FTSE 100 , ISIN GB0031274896.


Marks & Spencer in Warsaw
Marks & Spencer, Leeds .

The company started with a vendor's tray with which Michael Marks ( Michał Marks in Polish ), a Jewish immigrant from Poland , started selling haberdashery in northeast England in 1882. After two years he borrowed five pounds from wholesaler Issac Dewhirst for a stall in the Leeds market . He advertised his goods with the eye-catching slogan : Don't ask the price - it's a penny . It was successful relatively quickly and a small chain of market stalls emerged called "Marks' Penny Bazaar".

The Penny-limit was up to the First World War maintained. The company's name had changed, however, because in 1894 Marks partnered with Thomas Spencer , who had been Dewhirst's cashier, to expand the business . In 1901 the first department store opened in Manchester. In 1926, Marks & Spencer finally went public; the price limit at that time was five shillings.

In 1924, the company began purchasing clothing and underwear directly from manufacturers and no longer through wholesalers. As a result, Marks & Spencer had a greater impact on quality. On this basis, the St Michael trademark was introduced in 1928 for all goods that were produced according to the company's own standards.

The company grew rapidly until the 1950s, expanding and increasing the range of goods and convenience in its department stores (e.g. with "cafe bars"). 1968 M&S overtook competitor Woolworth as the largest retailer in Great Britain; However, the company lost this status to Sainsbury's in 1992 . In 1975 the first stores opened in mainland Europe. This expansion strategy was abandoned in 2001 and the branches in Germany ( Westenhellweg in Dortmund, Zeil in Frankfurt am Main, Cologne, Essen and others), Belgium and France were sold or closed. In 2015, however, a branch was opened in Brussels. The losses incurred are the subject of the Marks & Spencer decision of the ECJ .

In October 2012, M&S joined Greenpeace's Detox campaign. M&S signed a commitment to remove all hazardous chemicals from its entire supply chain and product range by 2020. In May 2018, CEO Steve Rowe announced the closure of 100 stores.


  • Bamber Gascoigne: Encyclopedia of Britain. BCA, London, New York, Sydney, Toronto 1993, ISBN 0-333-54764-0 , p. 406.

Web links

Commons : Marks & Spencer  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Annual Report 2019 (English), accessed on August 5, 2019.
  2. ( Memento from October 27, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  3. Jump up in British trade - The high street dies with Marks & Spencer., May 26, 2018.