Marks & Spencer Re-Evaluates National Brands

Marc Bolland, the new chief executive of Marks and Spencer, plans to evaluate its test of National Brand food as part of a strategic review. The major British retailer, with over 895 stores in more than 40 territories around the world, over 600 domestic and 295 internationally introduced the test of national brand foods less than two years ago. The test ended a 85 year tradition that Marks and Spencer exclusively offered Private Brands.

The test has recently expanded to all of its stores in an effort to revitalize its food sales.

The conclusions of the review are due to be announced on November 9 at the same time as M&S’s interim sales results.

According to an article in the Financial Times Mr Bolland is thought to be focusing on elements of the branded trial and he is considered unlikely to dispense entirely with branded food within M&S.

However, there are several more weeks of work to do before Mr Bolland draws together his conclusions.

Some people familiar with the review also insisted that Mr Bolland was looking at all of M&S’s ranges, as part of a large number of projects that he is running.

Mr Bolland, an expert in brands and marketing, is understood to be keen to drive M&S’s food business harder, given the threat represented by its rival Waitrose.



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Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan).

Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s.
Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago.

Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.