M&S unveils Octopus Energy tie-up to challenge Big 6 energy providers

M&S Octopus Energy

Marks & Spencer is set to refresh its energy offering in an ambitious bid to challenge the UK’s Big 6 gas and electricity providers.

From September 29, the retail giant’s new strategic partnership with Octopus Energy will see it supply energy to households under the M&S brand.

The launch of M&S Energy comes just a week after the retailer split with SSE, its previous partner of nine years.

Customers who had M&S Energy through SSE will be offered the choice to stick with the energy giant or move over to a new Octopus tariff.

M&S said the new offering aims to “challenge the Big 6” – which consist of British Gas, SSE, EDF, Npower, E.On and ScottishPower.

The retailer also wants to disrupt the traditional energy market, starting with a rejection of the “punitive tease-and-squeeze pricing” model, which sees longer term consumers subsidising cheaper rates for new customers.

In its place, M&S and Octopus intend to use a transparent price model and a digitally-focused service.

Launched in 2016, Octopus Energy has more than 200,000 customers and is backed by private equity firm Octopus Capital.

M&S Energy boss Jonathan Hazeldine said: “As we continue to transform M&S, we have chosen Octopus as a new strategic partner for M&S Energy.

“Octopus’ values of responsible and transparent pricing and digital-first customer service mirror our ambitions for the business.

“Together, we can challenge the traditional energy market and bring green energy to millions of households at a competitive and fair price.”

The new partnership forms part of M&S’s radical five-year turnaround scheme, which aims to reduce costs by £350 million.

The scheme, launched in November 2016, has so far been painful thanks to an acceleration of store closures, job cuts and a deceleration of its Simply Food expansion.

At the M&S AGM last week, chairman Archie Normal and chief executive Steve Rowe hinted that there could be further store closures and job cuts.

Meanwhile earlier this week, it was revealed that M&S was planning to axe 351 manager roles.

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