Blog: Leonie BarrieHitting back at analysts

Leonie Barrie | 21 May 2009

Last week I mused about what Sir Stuart Rose would have to say to those analysts who suggested they were fed up with the way M&S management is running the firm.

True to form, he took a sideways swipe at their criticism on Tuesday at a media briefing to discuss the retailer’s annual results.

Analysts at broker Investec had slammed M&S’s “discounting to protect market share, and cost-cutting to protect the dividend,” and suggested that rather than trying to compete with the likes of Primark and Tesco it should focus on quality instead.

But Rose pointed out: “Our price architecture is the broadest in the land. You can buy a men’s suit for GBP49.50 or GBP600+ and we can serve everybody, which is why we have 22% of the men’s suit market. And in many other major categories we are the same.

“We are not a discount house, we are a value house. People who don’t understand that clearly aren’t talking the same language as our customers are; we were voted yesterday by YouGov as being the most trusted brand in the high street, and the brand they’d least like to see disappear.”

The analysts will no doubt be happy at M&S’s decision to cut its dividend by a third, but they’ll have to wait for some time before there’s a decision on who will be the next chief executive.



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