Marks and Spencer is influenced by a variety of macro environmental factors, including Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal, and Environmental forces. These factors have an impact on the products/services they offer, market positioning and strategies, as well as relationships with customers and suppliers. They contribute to developing a clear vision, expressing goals, establishing objectives and effective strategies for achievement. Additionally, policies and procedures are implemented to efficiently execute strategic plans. Examples of political factors that can significantly affect Marks and Spencer’s financial results include government stability, international relations, government spending, and taxation policies. Policy guidance is employed to effectively address these issues.
In January 2006, Marks and Spencer took a significant step by adopting Fair-trade principles for their clothing and food products. Their fair-trade policy focused on reducing salt and fat content in food, using recycled packaging, and giving importance to animal welfare.
Marks and Spencer is also influenced by economic factors such as inflation, unemployment, income levels, interest rates, economic growth, exchange rates, and production costs. Currently, the ongoing recession has caused uncertainty in the economic situation which has greatly affected Marks and Spencer’s retail sales.
During the Celtic Tiger era, the economic downturn caused a decline in people’s purchasing power for luxury items like clothing and gourmet food. Consequently, Marks and Spencer had to close several stores and cut their workforce by 20% from their overall staff of 70,000 employees. In order to stay competitive, they also implemented a 20% discount on all wine and Champagne products. This illustrates the profound effect of the recession on Marks and Spencer during this difficult time. Sociological factors influencing Marks and Spencer encompass education levels, lifestyle decisions, population mobility, and income distribution.
Marks and Spencer has embraced the competitive market, especially Dunnes Stores, by transforming into a multi-channel retailer. They have established an online store where customers can conveniently buy their food, clothing, and other goods. This alteration is a result of their commitment to stay relevant in society and cater to diverse markets based on social class and demographics. Additionally, Marks and Spencer has updated its clothing collection to align with current fashion trends in order to maintain customer appeal.
Consumer purchases are influenced by various factors such as cultural, social, and personal. Marks and Spencer cannot control these factors but they must consider them, which they have successfully done as they are a strong and competitive player in their market. Technological advancement is a crucial factor in the retail industry. In order to expand their business, enhance security, and stay ahead of competitors, Marks and Spencer must embrace new technology. To achieve this, they need to carefully handle their brands.
Major brand marketers frequently invest significant sums in advertising in order to establish brand recognition and cultivate consumer preference and loyalty. Marks and Spencer has made substantial investments in advertising, featuring celebrity icon Myleen Class as the brand ambassador. Class can be seen on television commercials as well as on the company’s website, modeling their clothing. Marks and Spencer’s advertisements target both young women in their 20s and mature women, ensuring comprehensive coverage in their advertising campaign. Furthermore, their website boasts vibrant colors, user-friendliness, and regular updates, making it highly appealing to visitors.
Their online shopping and website showcase their essential internet technology during this time. The legal factor of changing legislations is always present. For example, if health and safety regulations become stricter, it will lead to increased costs. Premises that do not meet the elevated standards may face closure. Marks and Spencer prevents this by conducting yearly re-training and updates. They stay current with new laws and legislations, as well as Health and Safety matters. Additionally, they ensure that their legal protection remains up to date.
Marks and Spencer is open to making changes in various areas such as business, tax, and product aspects. This shows their willingness to undergo re-training. They also support the review of goals and methods, as well as the implementation of new training and continuous development. An example of legislation is the ‘Fair Packaging and Labelling Act (1996)’, which governs the packaging and labeling of consumer goods. The act requires manufacturers to disclose information about the contents, origin, and quantity of their products.
Marks and Spencer demonstrate their commitment to environmental legislation by prominently featuring the following statement on their website: “Packaging serves multiple purposes, such as safeguarding the product during transportation, reducing product wastage, providing crucial instructions and ingredient information, and enhancing the product’s presentation in stores.” As the climate situation has prompted calls for change in materials and manufacturing practices, Marks and Spencer has developed its own Green Policy, aligned with these environmental concerns.
Marks and Spencer aims to make their business more environmentally friendly by implementing a five year plan. This includes reducing carbon emissions, eliminating waste sent to landfills, and prioritizing ethical trading and sustainable sourcing. In terms of market structure, Marks and Spencer operates within an oligopoly where a small group of firms hold majority control over the market. Due to limited competition, these firms have increased chances for higher profits. Instead of relying on price competition, they focus on advertising and leveraging the reputation associated with their brand names.
Despite being one of the largest leading retailers, Marks and Spencer is currently facing increased competition and decline. This has put them at risk of entering the imperfect competition structure, where multiple firms hold smaller shares in the market. In terms of competition, Marks and Spencer differentiates itself through its emphasis on quality and service, with Next and Tesco being its main competitors. However, Marks and Spencer still maintains some competitive advantages in their business.
Marks and Spencer has a unique approach to acquiring products. Unlike its competitors, it does not simply purchase them “off the shelf” from suppliers. Instead, the company follows a simple philosophy: quickly restock items that sell well and avoid running out of stock, while swiftly removing items that do not sell and replacing them with more marketable products. This strategic tactic gives Marks and Spencer an advantage in the market. Additionally, like its competitors, Marks and Spencer offers online shopping. However, the company sets itself apart by making its online shopping experience more visually appealing and effectively promoting it to the public.