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The Guardian: "We all love [Brent Cross] Marks & Spencer – but not enough to buy its clothes

"The British legacy brand’s mid-market recipe of value for money is a dud in a world of bottomless yearning for something new"

Link to web site

"...M&S was the perfect setting for Margaret Thatcher’s political personality. But it was more than that. Its story is a rags-to-riches fairytale of refugees, hardship, tragedy (both Marks and Spencer died young) endeavour and triumph. Seiff was Marks's grandson. During the second world war M&S staff clubbed together and paid for a Spitfire. It’s hard to think of a more effective way of buying into modern Britain’s foundation myth.

"It was good for Thatcher, and the Thatcher years were the magic and sparkle years for M&S. The brand was a byword for Britishness and British-made quality goods. It was the place where the customer was always, but always, right. If you could produce the receipt you could return the goods, no matter how long ago you bought them. It took no credit cards. Borrowing! Pfff! It had nearly 50,000 employees, no trade unions, a workers’ profit-sharing scheme, and chiropody as part of the contract.

"But M&S created its own force-field so successfully that it failed to notice how fast the world was changing."

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