What’s Next for Marks & Spencer Group Plc (MKS)?

LONDON — Investment guru Phil Fisher used to recommend the “scuttlebutt” approach when researching companies to invest in. Basically, this meant seeking out and asking customers or clients about their view of a company. I tried this approach recently with high-street giant Marks & Spencer Group Plc (LON:MKS).

The positives
The view on M&S food was unanimous: It makes the best food in Britain. The quality and attention to detail that Marks & Spencer brings to the (dining) table is second to none.

Marks and Spencer Group Plc (LON:MKS)The view on M&S men’s formal clothing was also positive. I personally am a real fan of Marks & Spencer suits and formal wear. Again, the quality and attention to detail — basically, the sheer hard work that goes into these clothes — shine through.

A less flattering view
But when we turn to men’s casual wear, and especially women’s clothing, the view was far less flattering. If I try to buy clothes for my wife from M&S, she runs a mile. Now, she is no fashionista, but she likes fashionable, attractive clothing. Her view is that, for women’s clothing, M&S needs to appeal to a broader demographic. At the moment, it seems to be missing out completely on the youth sector.

I think that Marks & Spencer has much to learn from its hugely successful rival Next . Next has a consistent standard throughout its product range: You have an unbeatable combination of quality and breadth in its products.

Can it beat Next?
I buy almost all my furniture and homeware from Next, as the blend of good design and variety of styling is second to none. Next has the best online presence of any of the high-street retailers, with a seamless and effortless experience whether you are buying from your computer or tablet, via the Next Directory, or from a shop.

A good online presence is increasingly important, as more and more sales are made over the Internet. At the moment, Marks & Spencer is losing out to companies like Next, ASOS plc (LON:ASC) and Supergroup PLC (LON:SGP).

Thus my conclusion is that M&S is a decent investment but, for the share price to push on out, the company needs to work on its weak points. If it applied the same hard work and creativity to its furniture, online presence, and women’s clothing as it does to its food offer, it would be unstoppable.

Marks & Spencer, as a steady blue-chip company with a high dividend yield, would be worthy of consideration as an income share for your portfolio. The Fool is always on the lookout for good income investment opportunities, and we think we may have found just what dividend investors are looking for. Please read this free report about “The Motley Fool’s Top Income Stock for 2013.”

The article What’s Next for Marks & Spencer Group? originally appeared on Fool.com.

Prabhat Sakya owns none of the shares mentioned in this article, and neither does The Motley Fool. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Insider Monkey Headlines
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months Click to see monthly returns in table format!

Lists

The 10 Most Overrated Movies Of All Time by Out-of-Touch Critics

Top 6 Least Expensive Cruise Destinations For 2015 that Will Take You to Paradise

10 States with Lowest Substance Abuse Rates in America

The 14 Most Watched TV Finales Ever

The 10 Best Selling Role Playing Games of All Time for PC

10 Most Influential Papers In Economics

Top 8 Biggest Charities in the US

10 Worst Celebrity Career Moves Ever

Top 10 Best Paid Tennis Stars in the World

10 Cities with High Demand for Nurses

6 of the Worst Greeting Card Messages Ever Crafted

6 Ways to Make Money in ArcheAge and Build Your Empire

10 Foods To Eat To Lower Cholesterol Levels

The 10 Most Hated Television Characters of All Time

The 30 Worst Halloween Costume Ideas Ever Brought to Horrible Life

10 Vocational Skills in Demand Today with Jobs Waiting to be Filled

10 Best Places to Visit in Central and South America

The 10 Greatest Empires in History Which Nearly Conquered the World

The 6 Cheapest Boarding Schools In America 2015

5 Clear Reasons LoL is Better than DotA, Continues to Rule MOBAs

The Only 9 Teams with a Chance to Win the Super Bowl

The 15 Most Common Phobias in America that Induce Fits of Panic

Top 6 Least Expensive Tourist Destinations in 2014

Jim Goetz, Peter Fenton, Jim Breyer: Top 6 Venture Investors for 2014

Top 15 Billionaires in 2014

5 Pitfalls To Avoid When Buying a Franchise

Top 20 Medical Schools in the US – 2014 Rankings

4 Business Strategies that Turned Jamie Oliver into the World’s Richest Chef

6 Qualities That Make You A Good Team Player

10 High Paying Seasonal Jobs in America this Holiday Season

The 10 Busiest Shipping Lanes in the World

5 Most Valuable Brands in China

The 10 States with Highest Substance Abuse Rates Crippling Their Populace

The Top 10 Things to Do Before You Die That Will Echo for Eternity

The 10 Best Selling Items on Etsy

Top 10 Things to Do in Tokyo, the Greatest City in the World

10 Mistakes on Social Media that Can Harm You and Will Probably Get You Canned

The 10 Best Cities to Find Jobs in 2014

The 10 Most Controversial Songs Of All Time to Hit (and get Banned from) the Airwaves

The 20 Biggest IPOs in US History

The 10 Best Places to Visit in Mexico that Are Beautiful and Safe

7 Bad Habits that Age You Beyond Your Years

The 40 Best Fortune Cookie Sayings That Will Leave You Bemused, Befuddled, or Beguiled

10 Foods to Eat Before a Workout to Make Every Drop of Sweat Count

The 5 Best Documentaries On Netflix You Must See

The Most Heartwarming and Inspirational Story Of This Halloween Season, It Will Make You Cry and Jump For Joy

10 Best Party Songs of All Time to Bring the House Down With

5 New World Order Conspiracy Theories that Will Strangle the World

The 10 Highest Rated Movies of 2014

The 10 Largest Container Shipping Companies in the World

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!