Marks & Spencer is a company that has been running for nearly 130 years, from small beginnings as a single market stall to a retail giant with more than 703 stores across the United Kingdom and a further 361 in more than 40 countries around the world. The company was founded by Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer in 1884 in Kirkgate Market, Leeds, using £5 lent to Marks to establish the market stall. The famous ‘M&S clock’ still remains and a heritage shop and café have been recently installed there.
Known by its customers as ‘Marks and Sparks’ or ‘M&S’, it sold only British made goods up until 2002 when the policy was discontinued. It was renowned in 1998 as being the first British retailer to have made a pre-tax profit of more than £1 billion.
There are several different formats of Marks and Spencer stores. Core M&S shops generally consist of a food hall (known as the ‘St Michael Food Hall’ prior to 2000) selling groceries and a selection of the clothing ranges. Most stores have a café (formerly known as Café Revive but is being phased out), Deli Bar, Restaurant, Hot Food To Go, or M&S Kitchen. Since 2007, there have been dedicated homeware stores such as in Cheltenham, The Trafford Centre and Aberdeen. M&S also has an outlet division with more than 50 stores and plans for growth. M&S Simply Food stores are smaller and typically sell a selection of groceries and varied general merchandise.
While their highest turnover comes from food (54%), they also lead the market in general merchandise, including womenswear and menswear, as well as a huge selection of home and electrical goods. Selling everything from fancy meals to sparkly earrings, and all you can imagine in between, you’d be hard pushed not to find what you’re looking for.
Marks and Spencer operate their clothing ranges under their own brand labels. The first of these, introduced in 1928 was St. Michael, named after the founder. By 1950, all goods were sold under this label, aside from women’s and girls’ clothing which was under the St. Margaret label. The St Michael brand was dropped in 2000 but has been replaced by popular labels such as Per Una, North Coast and Autograph.
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Marks and Spencer have a detailed returns policy based on the item(s) in question.
In general, clothing and homeware, aside from furniture which is delivery only, can be returned to UK store in person or by post within 35 days of purchase with a valid receipt or delivery note for a full refund. If the receipt is expired, you will be offered either a credit receipt or an exchange.
Technology purchased in a tamper proof seal must be returned with the seal intact for a refund. All technology products are covered by guarantee for faults or damage.
If you are returning your item by post, there is a prepaid returns label included with the parcel. You can also use Collect+ to return items. Your refund in this case will be credited to the card used for purchase within 2 weeks. You will receive an email confirmation of the refund being processed. If returning your item in store, you will receive the refund immediately.
If you do not have the receipt for the item, Marks and Spencer will off a goodwill exchange or a refund of the most recent price of the item as long as it is in a resaleable condition.