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Missed opportunities for M&S

By Dan Colombini , 17-Nov-2011

Marks & Spencer’s Simply Food stores are a “bit of a square peg in a round hole” and have lead to missed opportunities for the group, according to city analysts.

Despite the success of the stores, which feature in petrol stations and motorway services, experts feel that the retail giant has yet to successfully combine the convenience (CVS) sector with the rapidly growing Food-to-Go channel.

Following the opening of M&S’s new ‘Food on the move’ store at Baker Street Station, London, Shore Capital analyst, Clive Black said: “M&S has not embraced format diversity to the same degree as some of its supermarket competitors in particular, which we believe has meant that it has missed some opportunities.

The highly prepared nature of M&S Food makes it reasonably appropriate to the growing CVS channel, according to Black.

“Indeed, don't get us wrong, but Simply Food is a bit of a square peg in a round hole at times and also perhaps more importantly, the equally growing 'Food-to-Go' channel,” he added.

Pimple on the backside

The new store is a walk-through passage way leading into the famous station in London and serves a variety of M&S products on chilled bays, including sandwiches, pasta bowls and sushi.

Black added: “As a concept the store has some appeal to us. In food-to-go, M&S has some experience through its city centre cafes. But it has not married CVS to Food-to-Go in our view. Hence, Baker Street, while a pimple on the backside of M&S as group entity, represents an interesting and potentially significant development.”

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