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M&S eyes financial contribution from suppliers

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Marks & Spencer (M&S) has today confirmed that it has asked suppliers to financially contribute to store revamping as the retailer continues to eye development.

The high street giant asked suppliers from its clothing and homewares sectors to promise a multimillion pound investment in order to fund store refurbishments and advertisements.

The announcement comes as the retailer steps up its advertising, having inducted Hollywood stars including Ryan Reynolds and Rosie Huntington-Whitely for its autumn/winter clothing campaigns and signing an exclusive deal with ITV’s X Factor to be the sole fashion partner for the hit show.

During a meeting last week with a number of suppliers, CEO Marc Bolland called on them for a contribution of 1.25 per cent of their company turnover in the year to August and, should these plans go ahead, millions of pounds are expected to be raised for upcoming marketing campaigns.

Bolland has been vocal on his desire to strengthen the brand’s reputation since he took over from former CEO Sir Stuart Rose last spring, although questions are bound to be asked about the reasons for the need to ask for supplier investment in such a financially successful company.

During his time at the retailer, Rose helped the business reach profits of £1 billion in a single year and significantly increased its share price, as well as spending £2 billion in store makeovers.

Total UK sales excluding VAT grew 2.7 per cent in the 13 weeks to July 2nd 2011, which saw M&S maintain existing guidance for its full-year targets.

These results were greeted with praise by Bolland at the time of their release, as he pointed to the need for further growth.

“Against the uncertain economic backdrop, we are focused on trading through the short term, while building for the long-term growth of the business,” he commented.

While the decision to gain suppliers’ financial backing may well prove controversial, the company stands behind the move.

“This is an exciting time for M&S and its suppliers; we’ve set out a very clear strategy to grow our business over the next three years to our mutual benefit,” said a spokesman.

“We therefore believe it is right that our top suppliers are part of the journey from the start.”

In other M&S news, the retailer has announced that it is to open more of its stores on Boxing Day in the hope of enticing shoppers to spend in post-Christmas sales.

Around 130 stores will open their doors to festive bargain-hunters, including 20 M&S outlet stores.

An M&S spokesperson said: “We will have more stores open on Boxing Day this year, including around 90 of our full offer stores.

“We know that some of our customers will be out and about in some shopping centres and would love to be able to shop with us, so it makes sense for us to open in these locations.”

Published on Tuesday 04 October by Editorial Assistant

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