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Retail

Marks & Spencer Launches New Start-Up Programme With Founders Factory

British retailer Marks & Spencer has announced a joint venture with start-up incubator Founders Factory, dedicated to investing in and developing start-ups. The move is the latest in the five-year transformation plan of the company, 'Making M&S Special'.

A Direct Line To New Trends

The move will allow M&S to source new business models and new technologies. The joint venture, in which M&S will be a majority shareholder, will cover the UK retail market. This could provide M&S with various insights to ensure success in the digital transformation of the company.

Speaking about the project, chief executive Steve Rowe commented, "Partnering with Founders Factory as their exclusive retail partner gives M&S access to a global network of start-ups and entrepreneurs which will provide disruptive thinking and questioning to the way we work at a time of critical transformation within the business.

"Founders Factory [has] a great track record in creating successful businesses and by investing in new innovative technologies and products we hope to change the way we work and operate.”

The incubator's co-founder Brent Hoberman stressed how the collaboration with an established player would also benefit British entrepreneurs. “We are excited to partner with M&S as our exclusive retail investor in the UK and combine the company’s scale and experience to support early-stage founders.

"After over 60 investments in the last two years we have seen the huge potential of combining start-up innovation with corporate scale and expertise, and so we are excited by this new chapter in a sector that is changing rapidly through technology."

Reinvention Of M&S

Marks & Spencer has been looking for ways to reinvent itself after a decade of failed transformations, and has announced a number of key partnerships in recent months.

The retail group aims to have "a profitable growing business in five years' time," as chairman Archie Norman said during the latest AGM, cautioning that it "wasn't a quick fix".

The company has reported two straight years of profit decline, recording a drop of 62% in pre-tax profit for full-year 2017/18.

© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Matthieu Chassain. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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