Business in the late 1980s and 1990s

In the world of retailers, Marks & Spencer is one of the UK’s leading retailers of foods, clothing, homeware and financial services. It operates over 450 stores throughout the UK, and has 150 stores worldwide, including over 130 franchise businesses, operating in 30 countries. However, Jobber pointed out that the company’s progress has not always been easy. (Jobber, 2004) Therefore, this research aims to analyze how Marks and Spencer revived from their downturn in the late 1980s and 1990s by using some marketing strategies to improve their provision of goods and services in order to acquire customers’ satisfaction.
The problems of Marks ; Spencer in the past (1980s – 1990s) In fact, during the 1980s and 1990s, Marks ; Spencer was confronted with a decline in levels of sales and profit margins because of many factors. Customers complained that purchasing goods at Marks ; Spencer was not value for money because the company did not provide high quality products, particularly, lingerie which always lost its shape after washing. Marks ; Spencer’s customers also blamed the company for food prices which were quite high while the food quality was the same as that of other retailers.
As for the financial services, there were lots of dissatisfied customers because of the charges for services. Finally, to all these problems, store location seemed to be a main problem. There was a shortage of suitable and reasonable parking because most stores were located in cities or town centers and so shoppers find access difficult. solution Jobber noted that not so long ago, Marks & Spencer dramatically improved their profit margins and market share by improving quality of food and clothes, advertising to promote products and investment in hiring lots of people with experience to develop the company’s potential.

(Jobber: 2004) In fact, Marks ; Spencer recovered from the hardship not only because of the internal factors as mentioned above but also the result of economic factors nowadays. People have got wealthier and overall the UK economy is better than in the past. This encourages the high range market, the wealthy people, to purchase in Marks ; Spencer as well because Mark ; Spencer’s products are quite expensive compare with other retailers. However, this research project will analyze only the internal problems, as the internal problems have more influenced to the achievement of the company.
This section will be concerned about the area of Marks & Spencer and how they have revived from their recession. Smith Barney, an economist, stated that Marks & Spencer was the sixth largest food retailer in the UK. They are completely concerned about hygienic food handling and sanitation in order to keep the level of customers’ satisfaction. (Barney, 1998). Obviously, the customers’ satisfaction can be supported by an interview conducted by Guardian Unlimited which pointed out that people prefer to purchase food at Marks & Spencer. Julian Clary, student, is one of the sample indicate that she loves breakfast.
She has an organic orange-infused granola from Mark & Spencer, sprinkled with blueberries because it is very fresh, natural food and healthy prepared. (Eva, 2007) Goldenberg, Scientific Advisor of Marks & Spencer between 1972 and 1985, also confirmed in his autobiography that working at Marks & Spencer made him realize how Marks & Spencer cared about customers’ health. (Goldenberg, 2000: pp. 101). The market position can be supported by the sale in Marks ; Spencer website which stated that there was 4. 3% of market share, total sales volume in the UK. They emphasized that ‘Eat Well’, organic food accounted for 30% of food sales.
(www. marksandspencer. com). In addition, Fernie et. al. also supported this point in his book that Marks ; Spencer had the biggest market share for organic food. (Fernie et. al. , 2003) As Comfort, Hilier and Jones pointed out in their research that it was virtually large window display proclaimed that at the Marks ; Spencer stores “Every Simple cook dish is completely additive free- that means no E-numbers, stabilizer, preservatives, colors, flavoring or sweeteners. ” (Comfort, Hilier and Jones, 2006). Thus, it might be said that Marks ; Spencer food product could meet customers’ requirement because of quality and hygiene.

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