This isn’t just any gas & electricity; this is M&S gas & electricity

15 10 2008

Marks & Spencer announced today (15 Oct) its partnership with Scottish and Southern Energy to launch its new offering- M&S Energy. Customers can sign up in store and online through which goes live on the 27th of October. M&S plans to reward their customers by offering them M&S vouchers when they sign up, reduce their energy usage or opt for paperless billing. It is relying on its strong brand name to attract customers. However, since M&S is regarded more as an upmarket brand, it is unlikely that people will switch to M&S initially since it will naturally be perceived to be more expensive than its competitors.

Offering vouchers rather than a discount on the bill itself is an interesting way of making people sign up and shop at M&S since shopping at M&S is the only way to redeem the vouchers. This would lead to a rise in sales for M&S, who has seen its sales drop-M&S style, and would ensure that the money stays within the organisation. This is because if you get a £10 voucher, M&S is not actually spending the £10, but the voucher is worth £10 that can only be spent at M&S. This is different to it giving you £10 discount on your bill that it does have to spend and since you are free to spend it anywhere you choose, M&S might not benefit from it. It will be interesting to see if other stores, like Britain’s Biggest Discounter, Tesco, will join M&S to offer gas & electricity to its customers.

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M&S weather forecast-bleak in Britain, sunny in Shanghai

3 10 2008
M&S, Shanghai. Image Copyright M&S

M&S, Shanghai. Image Copyright M&S

Britain’s biggest clothing retailer, Marks & Spencer, announced yesterday (03 Oct) that like-for-like sales for stores including the new ones had fallen by 6%. Although this is’nt as much as John Lewis, who saw its sales drop by 8%, it is still bad. General merchandise, which includes homeware and clothing, saw a fall of 6.4% while food sales fell by 5.9%. This fall in sales is being attributed to consumers switching to cheaper brands offering better value for money. Afterall, when it begins to pinch in the pocket, brand loyalty is bound to be thrown out of the window. On a more optimistic note, M&S said that its promotion “Dine in for £10” was “spectacularly successful” and its online sales had increased by 34%.

On the bright side, the opening of M&S’s store in Shanghai yesterday was’nt any less of a spectacular success either. The store, situated on the Nanjing West Road, saw home-sick expatriates and the affluent Chinese middle-class queue up outside the store waiting to get their hands on traditional British merchandise. Apparently, items such as biscuits, jams, Double Devon Toffees, fisherman’s pie and digestive biscuits were amongst the most popular items. M&S is targeting the fast expanding Chinese middle-class with increasing disposable income. It hopes that its stores situated internationally will in the future account for 15%-20% of its revenues. Ironically, according to the Guardian, about 30% of non-food items that M&S sells are infact manufactured in China, but will have to be re-imported for licensing reasons.