Founded in 1884, Marks and Spencer (M&S) has grown from a single market stall to an international, multi-channel retailer. M&S is one of the UK’s leading retailers, with over 1,330 stores worldwide.
M&S sells high quality products to 33 million customers through its 852 UK stores and its e-commerce platform. M&S business has two divisions: Food which accounts for 57% of its turnover, and General Merchandise, which accounts for the remaining 43%. M&S has also a market leading positions in Womenswear, Lingerie and Menswear.
M&S joined the Integrated Reporting Pilot Programme in 2011, and subsequently became a member of the <IR> Business Network in 2014. Following our participation in the Integrated Reporting (<IR>) voluntary pilot programme, we have committed to an Annual Report that meets the principles of <IR> by 2016.
Internally we have formed an M&S <IR> Working Party to support our continued work towards the 2016 goal, and have participated in the <IR> Business Network and consulted with Deloitte for best practice guidance. As <IR> continues to evolve, consultation with other <IR> adopters and practitioners through the Business Network provides a valuable space to share ideas and approaches, and to improve our understanding on the need and demand for the adoption of <IR>.
M&S supports the IIRC’s acknowledgement that <IR> is a journey, and that the <IR> principles provide a framework and a guide, rather than a list of prescriptive rules for an organisation to become integrated. We have recognised the need to give careful consideration as to how to apply the principles of <IR> to our own business model to ensure that communications remain relevant for our stakeholders. This has been important us, to make sure that we leverage what we are already doing through things such as our Plan A activities, rather than reinventing and adding to existing reporting.
Our latest Annual Report continues to build upon the <IR> principles, strengthened by our detailed corporate responsibility (Plan A) and risk disclosures. In 2014/15 we had particular focus on developing the M&S business model to clearly articulate ‘What makes M&S different’ and have worked on improving connectivity through use of infographic icons and upfront navigational aids.
Our <IR> commitment coincides with the UK Governance Code requirement to include a Viability Statement within our Annual Report from 2016. This will strengthen the articulation of our longer term strategy, and on the sustainability of our value creation which is a key theme of <IR>.