Marks & Spencer is still Europe’s leading clothing retailer, just ahead of C&A, but a new report on “Clothing Retailing in Europe” from Retail Intelligence concludes that it is unlikely ever to return to its halcyon days when operating margins exceeded 13 per cent and its UK market share in clothing topped 16 per cent. This is not only as a result of its own difficulties and failings, but also because consumers are looking for greater diversity and a host of rivals (from the US and Europe as well as from the UK) are rushing to satisfy this need.

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