Marks and Spencer

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Category: Business and Industry

Date Submitted: 05/27/2013 11:50 AM

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Marks and Spencer Case

Marks and Spencer (M&S) is the largest and most profitable retail organization in the United Kingdom. As M&S started to globalize their retail organization, their profitability started to decrease in some regions. The decrease in profitability was due to competition in specific product categories and geographical areas. In order to determine the extent of their ability to compete globally, I will look to see if M&S has any resources or capabilities that give them a competitive advantage over other companies in the same industry. This paper will examine M&S retail organization in the UK, Canada/US and Europe and attempt to determine why they were more profitable in the UK versus other regions and analyze their operation to see if they have any resources or capabilities that are rare, hard to imitate and valuable.

Most of M&S profit came from their UK operations. UK sales and profits increased each year from 1984 to 1988 and sales in all other regions were flat during he same time.


M&S is focused on three main markets which are food, clothing and houseware. Out of these three, clothing and food represent the bulk of their sales in the UK and is increasing year after year. Food is second to clothing and houseware is third. In fact, clothing accounted for 48% of M&S sales and 55% of profit, food accounted for 40% of sales and 33% profit and houseware 12%. This is an indication M&S created a competitive advantage in the clothing area in the UK that they could potentially replicate in other regions.


M&S has quite a few resources that contribute to their success. The factors that affect what M&S can accomplish are based on their values, processes and resources. Resources can be divided into three areas, tangible, intangible and human.

Tangible Resources - UK

Examples of tangible resources are physical assets, land, buildings, plants and equipment. M&S has an advantage over their competition in the...