Marks & Spencer chief executive Stuart Rose has praised the fashion and food retailer’s investment in advertising for contributing to its best results in nearly a decade. Profits at M&S have soared 28.5% to £965.2m in the 12 months to March 31, up from £751.4m on last year.
M&S spends £65m on its advertising, which is handled by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R. Its advertising has focused on womenswear campaigns, which star celebrities including Twiggy and Lizzie Jagger, and seasonal food products.
Rose says: “Our brand is our key asset. We have worked hard to rebuild brand loyalty. Brand awareness continues to strengthen as more customers buy across all product areas of clothing, food and home. Investment in advertising has supported the brand, driving increasingly positive customer feedback with every campaign.”
But despite today’s positive results, the company warns the retail environment will become more challenging. The retailer says that competition “remains intense” and that it expects the predicted rise in interest rates to put further pressure on consumer spending.†
M&S has also announced plans to create 10,000 jobs over the next three years as it moves to broaden the business into new areas, expand the chain and focus on growing the M&S name overseas.
The group is looking at rolling out its Simply Food range at 200 BP petrol station forecourts and is also looking at expanding into “Old Europe”, including France, as well as India.
Rose also says the brand will “stretch” into new product areas and the Direct business increased.
The company has also made a string of high-level appointments and role changes as it looks to drive business forward. Last month Marketing Week revealed Waitrose managing director Steven Esom had left the supermarket group to take up the role of director of food at M&S (MW April 26).