Marks & Spencer: Quality worth paying more for


The determination of Marks & Spencer to hold fast to its message of quality through both the good and bad times reinforced the brand's premium positioning and its profitability.


  • Despite the recession Marks & Spencer (M&S) held its nerve by maintaining its premium pricing and continuing to invest in brand-building advertising.

  • Refusing to lower prices meant the retailer didn't suffer the fate of companies which cut pricing in the bad times and then struggled to raise them again.

  • Outstanding communications, including iconic advertising, were an important part of its strategy.


M&S is one of the UK's leading retailers, selling clothing, food and homeware. In what have been troubled times for the UK high street, the retailer took what appeared to many in the media to be two foolhardy decisions. First, it was determined to maintain its price premium when competitors were slashing their prices to the bone to survive. Secondly, it decided to continue to invest in brand-building advertising to justify that premium.