News & Analysis

Marks & Spencer the middle-aged, middle-class achiever rises to a 1 year high!

Andrew Saks, Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Marks & Spencer, that staple household name which symbolizes middle-of-the-road, middle class life across Britain has been enjoying an interesting start to the week.

The company's shares rose yesterday and are at a one-year high, with the company now going down the fashion route and acquiring Nobody's Child, a mainstream women's fashion company.

Fashion and Marks & Spencer may well be an oxymoron if uttered in the same sentence, but given the extremely high levels of competition that have created an onslaught for Marks & Spencer during these last two years in which online shopping has become the norm, the company has had to give itself a bit more appeal.

Marks & Spencer has for many years been regarded as a traditional brand, and its high street shops have been its main appeal. Loyal customers have gone to Marks & Spencer retail stores in their droves for many years, and the security of buying a known product has been an intrinsic part of Marks & Spencer's appeal.

During the lockdowns, however, even the most traditional shoppers had to go online, and this is where Marks & Spencer found itself just an also-ran which sells rather bland product ranges, with its USP - the high street shop with its excellent customer service - closed.

Now, the company's diversification into outside brands is a clear strategy and acquring a 25% stake in Nobody's Child was a direct move toward livening up Marks & Spencer's online shopping appeal.

Market positioning is key in this very competitive sector, and Marks & Spencer's traditional bricks-and-mortar approach has been decimated by lockdowns and its beige image not so favorable among the demographic which does the most online shopping.

Therefore, Nobody's Child is a key investment for Marks & Spencer, as Nobody's Child customers are generally in their 20s and 30s, rather than retirement age as has been the majority of Marks & Spencer customers over recent years.

In the past month alone, Marks & Spencer shares have risen an impressive 33%, and over the past five days, they have risen 6.93%.

At 8.00am this morning, on the opening of the London markets, Marks & Spencer shares shot up yet again, reaching £2.43 per share before leveling off.

This represents a large degree of investor confidence in Marks & Spencer, as it attempts to move itself out of the mire of years of struggling, and begins to redefine itself and do something that is not normally associated with Marks & Spencer - move with the times.

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