James Moore: For many shoppers M&S is an irrelevance
Outlook For City scribblers (journalists and analysts), a small army of (ahem) retail shareholders, and for shoppers of a certain age, M&S is big news, a national soap opera.
But for an increasing number of customers it has become an irrelevance. Actually, no, that's not fair. More and more of them (as yesterday's sales figures demonstrate) will happily pick up a panini and a fair trade coffee, and pat themselves of the back for doing so. After all, it's cheaper than Starbucks, and M&S pays its tax. Unfortunately they wouldn't dream of venturing into the clothes department while they're there.
That may remain true even if Belinda Earl comes up with a humdinger of a winter range (and that's still a big if – it's a long time since her Designers at Debenhams days), and the fashion press coos, and they get some star to replace Mylene Klass in the obligatory expensively produced ad. That's because those new threads will still be being sold by M&S.
Face it, for lots of people it's just not the place to go to buy clothes any more. For many more it has never been. This is why sales keep falling. Time to get creative? How about dine in for a tenner and add a jumper for a fiver extra if you'll pop across the shop to get it?
Perhaps not. But what about a demerger, with Marc Bolland taking the wildly successful food biz? He's pretty good at it, after all. Just ask Morrison's shareholders, who have good reason to be pining for his return. Having done that you could hand the clothes over to someone who, well, knows a thing or two about flogging frocks.
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
- 3 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 4 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Market Administrator (1st line Support, Trade Fl...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Data Support Analyst (Linux, Solaris, Windows Se...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Helpdesk Support Engineer (Windows, MS Office, E...