M&S boss dismisses loyalty club-only deals as ‘tricksy’

sparks 2Marks & Spencer has ruled out launching loyalty club member-only offers, despite running trials of “Sparks Prices”, with chief executive Stuart Machin insisting the retailer does not do “tricksy pricing”.

Speaking as the company revealed a pre-tax profit of £716.4m for the 52 weeks ending March 30 – up from £453.3m the previous year – Machin attributed the rise to the success of its turnaround plan and reshaping its food business.

However, he claimed that giving special prices to Sparks members is at odds with its mission of being “a trusted retailer”.

Machin added: “The reason I do say ‘tricksy’, is we don’t think that by giving customers who are just on Sparks different special prices, and not giving those to everyone, is being a trusted retailer,” he said. “To be the most trusted retailer which our customers expect us to be, we are quite against a lot of ‘high-low’ promotions.”

M&S first launched trials of “Sparks Prices” in July last year, running across 50 stores in South Wales, the North East and West Midlands, but scrapped the programme in January.

Machin has confirmed that the retailer is working on a plan to “rethink” its current Sparks offer, which he wants to be “highly personalised”, but had worked hard to create a “first price, right price” strategy and will continue to invest in price in the year head.

He added: “We want [Sparks] to mean something, but we don’t want it to be just about getting a special deal just for that day.

“We’ve kept our prices almost flat and we intend to do that over the next 12 months as well. We’re keeping our promotions very limited and that’s in clothing, home and food.”

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