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Thou shalt have no other brands before me – Marc Bolland

Borrowing heavily from passages in the bible, Marks & Spencer has decided that there is only one true god and its name is M&S. KitGuru has been given eyes-on to a covert supplier letter which lays out the M&S strategy in some detail. KitGuru heads for the sandwich aisle to eavesdrop on the goss.

Once upon a time, Marks & Spencer was the retail dream – with a store in every town, Margaret Thatcher wearing their lingerie to bed and the introduction of the Chinese Chicken and Leaf-type sandwiches to wow the working nation’s mid-day taste-bud desires.

Then came competition. Tesco realised that it was able to sell a wide range of cheap goods, cheaply – many of which looked similar to the M&S option if you squinted and ignored what your sense of touch/taste was telling you. At the same time, WalMart (in Asda guise) came steaming into the sector with a string of mega stores and George Davies designs. George not only created affordable stuff fro Asda, he’s also created ranges for M&S.

As competitor’s prices dropped, M&S found itself under more pressure.

But with market-leading customer service, strong brand recognition and its high-street positions intact, M&S went on the offensive – recruiting from the enemy to help understand the ‘dirty tricks being used against it’ better. Bear in mind that the M&S version of a bad year is one that only generates £690m in profit, you can get an idea of where they bat.

Having paid a reported £7.5 million signing on fee for Dutch winger Marc Bolland, M&S wanted to turn a £30m drop in expected profits for 2012, into something a lot more positive for shareholders.

There were a few early wobbles as Marc set out proposals for M&S to pull back from electronics – only to find that M&S was delivering a tiny 2.9% increase in sales overall – but that electronics was soaring with growth up a whopping 28%. Wobble wobble.

Having sat on the final decision for 3 months, Marc has decided to stake his life’s work and reputation on his initial analysis being correct.

Damian Guha has contacted every electronics supplier on his enormous database to ask them for a ‘detailed and robust plan’ for M&S to exit the market. With immediate effect, M&S has no interest in selling any electronic or technology products outside of kettles and toasters.

Did you hear the one about the Dutch man, the lingerie and the well stuffed lunchtime special?

KitGuru says: For Marc to look at a sector in which M&S sales were boosted up at 28% and then pull the plug completely, must mean he is 100% confident on his sandwiches and sexy undies strategy. We loves M&S we does, so fingers crossed he hasn’t just made one of the biggest executive errors in modern retailing history.

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