M&S shareholder revolt comes as retailer announces schoolwear prices strategy
M&S may be riding a revival wave and news it's to hold prices on back-to-school childrenswear will cheer some of its customers further. But that positivity doesn’t appear to include some of its shareholders.
The retail giant suffered an investor revolt this week against its executive pay package, especially for outgoing chief executive Steve Rowe.
Nearly 30% voted against approving the retailer’s remuneration report at its annual meeting, including a £1.6 million bonus that doubled Rowe’s salary at a time when the retailer was still in recovery mode.
M&S defended the package, noting that all “eligible colleagues” were entitled to bonuses and it would have been wrong not to have included the chief executive. The company promised further talks with shareholders to understand the concerns of a “minority” and promised an update in six months.
At the same time, M&S told customers it's “committed to hold prices on its market-leading quality schoolwear”.
In a bid to “protect value for customers on the products that matter most”, M&S is freezing school uniform prices. offering an additional 20% off schoolwear for early shoppers until 25 July.
Prices in the M&S range start from £7 for a multipack of three 100% responsibly-sourced cotton unisex polo shirts. With the additional 20% Back-to-School offer applied, starting prices come down to £5.60 for early shoppers, it noted.
M&S also said it has continued its popular ‘Pass me on’ coat labels with enough room for three children’s names. It's also continuing its partnership with peer-to-peer kidswear resale platform Dotte. Consumers re-selling M&S products on Dotte will receive an M&S voucher for £5 off a £25 spend at M&S in-store or online.
Alice Duggan, Head of M&S Kids, said: “Schoolwear is an essential purchase for millions of families and now, more than ever, we want customers to have confidence in the value and quality of our uniform. As the UK market leaders during the Back-to-School season, we want to not only protect the prices, but help extend the life of our school ranges through design features and innovations so items can be worn for longer, be passed on to friends and family or even resold on Dotte in return for money off at M&S.”
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