M&S Update

M&S Update 21/03/20

We’re all in this together – helping our communities

In my last message, I made a promise to share more about what we’re doing to help our customers and our wider community. Today I’m sharing the initial steps that we’re taking to help the communities we serve; particularly its most vulnerable members. Many of the ideas we are putting into action come from the 80,000 colleagues who are working around the clock and I have never been prouder to lead this team – this family – and wear my M&S name badge.

In our stores:
We are reserving the first hour of trade every Monday and Thursday, as a special shopping hour for our more vulnerable and elderly customers to help them get the food and products they need. For our NHS and emergency service workers, who we will all be relying on in the coming weeks and months, we will reserve the first hour of trade on a Tuesday and Friday for them to shop.

To help make sure all of our customers can get what they need, we have introduced temporary purchasing restrictions on some lines. This isn’t a decision we have taken lightly, but there is unprecedented demand on some products and all of us need to play our part in feeding the nation. There is plenty of food for all of us, if we just buy what we need.

In our communities
One of the things that makes me most proud to work at M&S is the role we play in our local communities. Not just through the brilliant service our colleagues give, but through the time and energy they give to helping those most in need. We can’t do this on our own and so we partner with organisations like Neighbourly, a community platform which links our stores to local organisations so we can donate surplus food and non-food products to the people who really need them.

Earlier this year we launched an app to make it easier for our colleagues to connect surplus product with the right local charity. Where we’ve launched it donations have gone up by more than 100% so we’re rolling it out as fast as we can to make it as easy as possible for everyone in all of our stores to get involved. We’re also playing our part in the work the government is convening with the whole food supply chain – from farm to fork – and when we can tell you more about that, we will.

But we know that isn’t enough. So M&S is kickstarting the ‘Neighbourly Community Fund’ specifically to support those most impacted by COVID-19. The whole M&S family – including M&S Bank and M&S Energy – is supporting the fund, which will help mobilise more than 1000 local charities to support the most vulnerable members of our communities immediately. Alongside this local on-the-ground funding M&S is supporting the National Emergencies Trust Campaign with a donation to help galvanize the national efforts now under way. To help you show your support for your local community, you can now select Neighbourly or the National Emergencies Trust as your chosen Sparks charity. This means M&S will continue to donate to these funds every time you use your Sparks card.

I don’t want to overclaim, we’re just doing our bit, and hopefully making it easier for you to do yours.

Helping our own community
Our colleagues have a critical role to play in the coming weeks to deliver for you, our customers, and that means a huge effort across our supply chain, stores and support centres.

Whilst they are working hard we want to make it as easy as possible for them in these challenging times. We are supporting all of our colleagues, should they need to self-isolate, on full pay. For those colleagues who may find their families facing temporary hardship, we have set up a colleague fund to give them extra help.

At M&S one of our values is to be ‘all in for the customer.’ By this we mean three things: All of us working as one M&S team; giving all of our effort all of the time; and being guided in everything we do by giving every customer the unique magic and sparkle of M&S.

We’re still doing that. But at the moment it isn’t quite enough. Because this is a challenge for everyone, everywhere.

So at the moment our guiding value is that we’re all in this together. Our M&S family doing our very best to help every family that we can.

Take care and a big thank you from us all.
Steve Rowe


Parish Clerk: Dr Elizabeth Maddock

Lower Withington Parish Council