Time To Stop Bashing M&S, After All It’s Food Is Really Rather Good
Now I don’t know about you, but for me, there’s always something inspiring about wandering around a great food hall. Harrods immediately springs to mind and last year I was fortunate enough to be in Moscow and took the opportunity to visit the amazing Eliseyevskiy.
But I would argue that another to rival these opened in Clapham last September with the new M&S food hall there.
Now, you may at this point be wondering why I’m discussing a food hall which opened nearly a year ago — after all, it’s hardly news now. However I was reminded of it when reading news that M&S are to cut hundreds of head office and store roles this week.
The retailer said 950 store management and head office jobs were at risk because it needed to accelerate its restructuring.
A spokesperson said the move marked “an important step” in it becoming a “stronger, leaner” business.
According to BBC News, the firm said that because of the pandemic, those measures would be accelerated under a programme called Never The Same Again. M&S said it now wanted to “make three years’ progress in one”.
And to put the job cuts in perspective, they represent just over 1% of the total workforce.
Sacha Berendji, director of retail, operations and property at M&S, said: “Through the crisis, we have seen how we can work faster and more flexibly by empowering store teams and it’s essential that we embed that way of working.
“Our priority now is to support all those affected through the consultation process and beyond.”
Judging M&S by its clothing operation has become a well trodden path, but that’s to largely miss the point. Because these job cuts are just another sign that M&S is finally realising what most of us have known for years, that the clothing division is dead in the water and can never be revived — in its current format at least.
Which means that the future of the business has two component parts — property and food. There’s no doubt that Berendji will be eyeing with keen interest, the potential conversion of Debenhams on Edinburgh’s Princes Street into a hotel with rooftop bar.
And with the pandemic driving new behaviours, and bringing cafe culture to the UK, so the potential for M&S food only grows. The food hall in Clapham showed what can be done, now Covid-19 has given M&S permission to experiment further.