Review of "Marks and Spencer"

published 03/06/2001 | mrpaella
Member since : 30/11/-0001
Reviews : 140
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About me :
Pro Perfect colour scheme, high quality ambience
Cons Not large enough range of Count On Us products
very helpful
Value for money
Layout & presentation
Selection & range

"Mastication & Salivation!"


When I wrote a Ciao opinion about Marks & Spencer a few months ago I was quite scathing about the company. Fortunately most Ciao members agreed with me.

Not everything about Marks & Spencer is gloomy though. The Foodhall and Home Furnishings departments made more profit than last year and are booming.

I usually buy my frozen food from Iceland and groceries from Tesco. I rarely visit Marks & Spencer's Foodhall but the food quality is excellent.

Really M & S can match or better the quality of food sold in all the UK supermarkets.

The quality control of M & S food manufacture is excellent.

The following exemplifies this:

A factory inspector went to a peanut packing factory in Europe where peanuts are sold on to various supermarkets. He saw that the majority of peanuts packed were broken. Then he noticed a conveyor belt, which had whole unbroken peanuts on it. Inquiring about the conveyor belt he was told that those peanuts on the belt were destined for M & S stores.

The ready made meals look appetising on the packaging, taste delicious but are too expensive for everyday shopping. An average ready-made meal costs £3.99 to £5.99.

My weekly shopping budget is around £25. For this amount I could only buy 4 or 5 items from M & S Foodhall.

Whenever I go to my parents' house in Hull my father buys me some food from M & S if he is in a good mood. Last month I tried a variety of kebabs, which were delicious.

When I was working in Oxford Street, I used to buy M & S sandwiches at lunchtime. There were express tills to serve customers with fewer than 5 items. The sandwiches were excellent but the prices made a dent in my wallet. So I went to eat somewhere cheaper.

When my wife and I go shopping in Hammersmith we used to pop into M & S just to buy some chicken tikka pieces for that evening's tea. But on some occasions the chicken tikka had apparently run out.

M & S have a policy of moving food items around the store so that customers would see different items and be tempted to buy them. So the chicken tikka was put in a different place from before. Fed up with not finding what I wanted quickly I now have stopped shopping at M & S Foodhall.

While listening to the Magic FM radio station last week I heard an advert for M & S Foodhall. The main line was 'exclusively for everyone'.

This advert is supposed to appeal to everyone. But the facts do not bear this out. Only the filthy rich do regular weekly shops at M & S. For the rest of us it is an occasional luxury. So the advert should have said 'exclusively for the filthy rich'.

I have to keep to a monthly budget and cut my coat accordingly to my cloth. If I overspend then I get into debt and have to pay interest charges on this debt.

At Lloyds TSB Bank you get 0.1% interest if your account is in credit. But if you go overdrawn then you pay interest at 29.5% as well as a monthly overdraft usage fee of £20.

The recent business policy of closing all M & S stores abroad is scandalous. Having a foreign presence means that foreign investment in the company is increased. Also it provides a place where expatriates can shop.

After 25-30 years of being the leading UK retail store, the management got blasé, complacent and arrogant. The problem now faced is to attract more customers into the store.

Either M & S could slash prices and compete with the likes of discount clothing stores such as Matalan, T K Maxx etc. Or they could go upmarket and sell more luxury items to the rich and forget about their poorer customers. The latter seems to be the better option.

M & S have a loyal core of customers who will not shop anywhere else. But more buying customer numbers are needed.

This year M & S shares are amongst the best performing.

I must say a few words about the Belgian chief executive Luc Van de Velde. M & S forks out £50,000 a week to pay for his accommodation. When Luc joined M & S he was given a golden hello of £2.5 million. His annual salary is £650,000. His annual bonus of £850,000 was deferred but will be paid later. He also has £10 million of share options. Yet Luc says that he should be paid more.

I am used to overpaid foreign footballers playing in the Premiership. But I did not know that this extended to greedy Belgian retail chief executives.

UPDATED May 2005

I don't know where you live but my locality is becoming like Wisteria Lane every day.

I do buy M&S food despite being a Tescophilic schizophrenic. Try saying that with a couple of Krispy Kreme doughnuts in your lughole.


In November 1973 she married a Mark.
In July 1981 he married a Spencer.

Did the Illuminati murder Diana?

That's food for thought Per Una.

UPDATED June 2005


One of the most frustrating times takes place when cash machines in Fulham do not work due to some computer problem or other.

When this happens I always get cashback from my local M&S store. This advice is so simple that one forgets when one is in a panic.

My favourite pulling outfit is an M&S pullover. With my luck with women, it´s over before I have pulled.

Paul is exclusively the one for every M&Sette.

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Comments on this review

  • emmy186 published 12/06/2005
    Great op! I love their food.....esp their jellies! It is so expensive but just so delicious maybe thast their downfall! Emmy xx
  • Disillusioned published 06/04/2005
    Excellent review, I work there part time. They don't seem to be doing great at the moment, that Belgian guy mucked a lot of stuff up. Hopefully things will get better. Still, the food is nice even though it is pricey. Cheers, James.
  • icklemissbrown published 10/07/2002
    M and S food is delicious... sometimes expensive - but always worth it!! :) helpful op! rach x
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Product Information : Marks and Spencer

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Listed on Ciao since: 09/11/2000