Where it all began
The company was set up by Michael Marks, a Polish refugee who first took the plunge into retail by opening a market stall in Leeds with the slogan ‘don’t ask the price, it’s a penny’. In 1894 Marks went into partnership with Thomas Spencer, a former cashier from Dewhirst, a wholesale company.
They started selling lingerie 90 years ago
M&S sold their first bra in 1926, which was the onset of lingerie first being sold in high street stores. To begin with lingerie was sold for the purpose of being functional and designed to suit the drop waisted flapper style fashion in the 1920’s. Now the store is one of the first stops for comfortable and stylish lingerie with a variety of shapes, sizes and styles to suit all, such as the Limited Collection range with delicate styles modelled by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, which appeals to a younger audience.
“This is not just any chocolate pudding…
… this is a Marks & Spencer chocolate pudding.” The 2005 chocolate pudding advert, which created the famous slogan, actually boosted their sales of the pudding by 3500%. This led the way for Marks & Spencer to become one of the UK’s leading supermarkets, expanding its range of delicious, indulging, top quality food.
They are helping to save the world
M&S has a programme called ‘Plan A’ that aims to responsibly resource its products, such as cotton, consciously considering their environmental footprint. It even has a plan to reduce its food waste by 20% between 2007 and 2020, in part donating unsold food back to the community by working with local charities. It also contributes by building eco stores with green roofs, installing solar panels and reducing energy with new refrigeration systems. Impressively, they are one of the UK’s leading green supermarkets.
Why M&S is top today
For 132 years Marks & Spencer has been a trusted brand and now with 914 stores nationwide, it’s one of the leading retailers in the UK. The company employs 82,904 individuals, not only in its stores but in headquarters and community projects across the country. It caters for a diverse range of shoppers with departments in Women’s, Men’s & Children’s clothing, homewares, food and even banking.
You can discover more about Marks & Spencer’s story by following their ‘Marks in Time’ webpage, where you can find additional pictures and stories. If you have a story or picture you would like to share with us, please use the hashtag #MarksInTime on Twitter and Facebook, and use our handle @One4allUK for Facebook or @One4allGiftUK for Twitter.