International Retail With Marks And Spencer Business Essay


Marks & Spencer Plc (from now on M&S) is an international retailer with 718 locations across 34 countries. The group sells clothing, footwear, gifts, home furnishings and foods under the St. Michael trademark in its chain of 294 stores in the United Kingdom. Approximately half of the group's overseas stores are franchised to local partners. The group also owns the clothing retailer Brooks Brothers and the Kings Super Markets chain in the United States of America. Direct mail helps M&S meet the core objective of providing customers with wider, easier access to their products such as home furnishings, flowers, hampers and wine. The financial services comprise of operations of the groups financial services companies providing account cards, personal loans, unit trust management, life assurance and pensions. Retailing accounted for 96% of fiscal 2000 revenues and financial services, 4%.

The company was always considered to have a great management support that helped in its growth. But the last couple of years, M&S's managers seem to fail on their strategic decisions, leading the group to lower and lower sales and profits. The M&S realise the same and they change strategic decision and change their CEO and took some stringent measures to overcome the issues which made M&S a great comeback.

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In this report I would discuss various aspects of Business Management about the organisation which has seen up's and down in the number of years. The organisation is known to many and is a trademark company.

The company has great values and a vision to serve the British customers with new designs and new range of products at affordable price.

2. Mission Statement of the Marks and Spencer:

Marks and Spencer is having the following vision, mission and value statement

Vision: To be the standard against which all others are measured.

Mission: To make aspiration quality accessible to all.

Values: Quality, value, service, innovation and trust.

Whether we're working at home or abroad, within our own stores or in partnership with our franchisees, our Vision, Mission and Values remain the same. Ensuring we meet our customers' needs with appealing, superior quality products at attractive prices.

Company Perspectives:

Marks & Spencer's unique retailing formula is proving successful in an increasing number of markets around the world. Our strategy is to accelerate expansion overseas while continuing to exploit the many opportunities for growth here in the U.K. 

3. Objective of the Marks and Spencer:

Marks and Spencer's corporate objectives are incorporated in its mission statement. This outlines what the business is and what it should be. Mission statements set out in writing what the firm wants to achieve and often include information on the values of the business. M&S outlines its core business as clothing and Food. Its financial objectives is to deliver shareholder value in terms of increase returns, but also in terms of increase sales and market share in retailing. It beliefs and values are outlined as "Our customers continue to see Marks & Spencer as the place to shop for special food, produced to exacting standards". M&S also sees its workforce as an important part of its plan and also considers modernising its stores as a key corporate objective.

Vision: The standard against which all others are measured

Mission: Making aspiration quality accessible to all

Values: Quality, value, service, innovation and trust

M&S also outlines its corporate social responsibility in its mission statement and considers the needs of other stakeholders too.

"We have a strong tradition of corporate social responsibility (CSR) but we want to make sure CSR is integrated into our operations at every level..."

Finally, M&S also outlines its strategic intent (vision) in its corporate objectives. M&S wants to continue its differentiation strategy by delivering freshness, quality and innovation.

4. Business Activities of the Marks and Spencer:

An Internal and corporate analysis in terms of strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) will assist in gaining an understanding of where Marks & Spencer's is currently in terms of strengths and where improvement is required within the business and what outside environmental threats it may face as well as what new opportunities are available to the company in the short and medium term.

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Marks and Spencer is a largest retailer in the United Kingdom by sales. It has got diverse ranges of Products ranging from Food, Clothing, Financial products, furniture, wine and Home. It has got strong cash flow and increased turnover and trading profits. The balance sheet is strong and it is a leading premium quality food retailer.

M &S has got innovation and alliances and is making its next target of meeting customer's demands to more value for money products. M&S is going towards diversification and has developed overseas supply chain. The Human Resources is strong and is well trained with brand awareness.

The external weaknesses of M&S are perception of high prices, customer disinterest, and environmental issues: pollution, buyer sophistication and knowledge, the substitute products or technologies threats, economic recession, market shift to globalisation and the possible take over bids and extremely high competition for customers and resources.

5. Recruitment Process and Selection Process:

The recruitment and selection process is robust and is very well defined at Marks and Spencer. The details of job's are on the website and those who believe that they have a capability to show potential can apply for a suitable job vacancy as advertised on their career website.

The careers are but not limited to Graduates and for the Retail Management and Marketing and Trainee Management Schemes.

Graduate Career:

The M&S Graduate scheme is one of the best in the industry. From candidate's of view, they get a first-class introduction to a career in retail. And from M&S side of things, they get talented people with fresh ideas and ways of thinking. It's the perfect deal.

But a career with M&S isn't for everyone; the bar is set especially high for graduates. It's not enough to say you have a 'passion for retail'. We'll want to see that passion in everything you do - whether you're taking part in group training days, researching new products, or meeting with our suppliers.

M& S career site invites candidates to explore their site to discover more about their scheme and the different opportunities it offers. Candidates are encouraged to watch videos of MHYPERLINK ""&HYPERLINK ""S people and graduates who've joined them in the past and read their blogs. They'll give a good idea of what they are looking for, and what a candidate can expect from a career with M&S.

The roles within the M&S are but not limited to Stores roles, Administration roles, Head Office roles, Shared Services/administration roles, HR Management, Retail Management and various other positions are always on offer. The M&S site opens each year in September for the new job vacancy. The recruitment process is highly ethical and the standards are set too high.

The following is their recruitment and selection process:

This is how M&S Recruitment process works:

Step one: fill in a form

Candidate can complete your application online.

For all M&S schemes, the closing date for applications is December 2011.

Step two: come to an assessment centre

If the management think candidate have potential, they will invite him to an assessment day. The day will involve group exercises, presentations, and an interview.

For business placement scheme, this day will take place in January.

For all other schemes, it'll be between mid-January and February.

Step three: get an offer

M&S will let the candidates know by mid February if they have been successful or not.

6. Appraisal of the people at M&S:


M&S want their people to enjoy their work and feel they have all the skills they need to do their job to the best of their ability. So they offer in-depth training and performance coaching, and regularly assess the individual's development needs to ensure everyone has the support to achieve their potential.

"For once in my life I can truly say that I enjoy going to work every day and I really like the buzz you feel all around the store." An employee at M&S

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No matter which area of the business you join, you'll receive an induction that will help you settle into your team, give you a feel for what your role will involve and leave you feeling passionate, inspired and excited about your career with Marks & Spencer. The use of a Job analysis aims to gather a comprehensive profile of all the posts in the Marks and Spender organisation illustrated by the skills and duties of these jobs performed through the tools of a job description and person specification leading to skills check making available supporting information in the form of a survey of all existing staff confirming the current competencies of the workforce in terms of skills, qualifications and experience. 

The following provides a bit more information about the training one can expect in M&S stores and at head office, and how M&S look at developing future leaders of the business.


The majority of the training is offered to the store teams is on-the-job. It helps them learn in 'real life' situations, where they have the benefit and support, should they need it. M&S section managers also receive specific training on stock management, driving sales and motivating their teams, while the store managers are regularly assessed to address any senior level development needs they may have.

M&S Staff are appraised each year while they are on the job and the appraisal is conducted in confidence with an ultimate aim of bringing productivity to the business.

7. Staffing activities carried out at M&S:

In a national retailer such as Marks and Spencer it is extremely important the human resources planning function plans and identifies the human resources requirements, for example if Marks and Spender install a new integrated computer network how many new staff would be required to operate such technology.  The result being that Marks and Spencer would have to efficiently recruit sufficient staff to successfully function properly. On the other hand less staff may be hired resulting in too few employees overstretching thus causing ill feeling, de-motivation and possibly costly legal disputes. 

 The Company has tried instituting a sort of partnership agreement between its employees and management. The main factor that has caused this is the fact that there is a substantial level of women among the members of staff. This means that the retail chain has been characterised by a common sense approach. This is especially so when different groups have to communicate between each other for example when staff re communicating to consumers. (M&S, 2007a)

Additionally, most staff members are expected to communicate with their consumers directly.  When doing this, employees usually employ communication skills and other forms of interpersonal skills.  These skills re necessary in establishing an atmosphere filled with commitment and trust. These perceptions are trickled to the relationship between employees and their employers. One can say that Marks and Spencer Company has tried creating an atmosphere of openness in most but not all of its stores.

There are always opportunities within any one company for advancement either vertically or horizontally. Consequently, employees need o be assured of the fact that they will get fair opportunities in the event that there are any openings. This is why the Company has tried to advertise most promotional opportunities within the company in an open and transparent manner. It is one of the foundational principles behind the organisation's training and development strategies. (Storey et al, 2005)

In their efforts of trying to create a climate of flexibility and trust, the Company has been creating task forces to address some of the following issues;

complaint procedures, customer demand, ideas in enumeration, recruitment patterns

staffing within departments.

While these may be very constructive and rich idea, there may be cases of conflict of interest. This is because some trade unions are already charged with these responsibilities and the task force will simply be repeating what trade unions can do. This is an issue that needs to be addressed adequately.

8. Conclusion and Recommendation:

The Company has tried establishing a good reputation and normally boasts of good employee development strategy. However, some negative media reports, campaigns from trade Union associations and complaints from workers may be denting this well manicured image. The external influences surrounding employee relations in Marks and Spencer in the past and present surround the fact that M&S has a poor record of consulting with its employees.

They succeeded not by inventing a new Marks & Spencer, but by rediscovering the fundamental strengths of the past and making them relevant to the present. Their successful performance was due to a powerful combination of people with past experience of Marks & Spencer and those who brought new skills and ideas to the organisation. Their next imperative step was that they listened to their customers.

If it addresses this issue, it will become even more successful.