Mark &. Spencer (M&.S) is the second-largest retail chain store in the UK and has a market share of 11.1% in clothing and 4.3% in food. It has 760 stores in the UK and 30 countries around the world. (Annual Report)
M&.S profits peaked in 1998 when it crossed the £ 1 billion mark that year. It was the highest achieved by a UK retail chain. From then until 2003 it was downhill. In 2004 a new CEO Rose took over the reins and M&.S slowly but surely got back to making higher profits every year since, although they are still far from the billion pounds they made in 1998. (see Appendix 1)
The heart of strategy lies in its competitive advantage (Porter M.E. 1980). When a firm becomes different by offering value, quality and some attributes through which it offers some uniqueness then it will become an above-average performer in its industry. But to arrive at this stage the firm must make difficult choices.
It has been stated by Hamel and Prahalad that companies that desist from competing for future market opportunities are doomed and forgo corporate value creation that they had achieved in the past. (Hamel and Prahalad). Growth is dependant on momentum and it is an integral part of business strategy. Growth is also a very difficult decision as it involves investments, and investment may become wasteful or a burden if there is no adequate return in a reasonable period of time.
Management, therefore, strives to formulate strategies for differentiation and growth, and the result of this is a sustainable Corporate strategy. While the management may succeed in formally carving out a strategy, its realization is possible only when the stakeholders are involved and are benefited.
Business today comprises of several stakeholders ranging from stockholders, suppliers, employees, customers. government and the local communities. The interest of each stakeholder is vital for the success of a business.