Marks & Spencer is poised to overtake Waitrose: the middle classes return to powerhouse High St

Marks & Spencer is poised to overtake Waitrose as it captures growing numbers of middle-class shoppers.

In the latest sign that the High Street retailer has regained its mojo, industry group Nielsen said yesterday it was competing with Waitrose, which each have 3.8 per cent of the market.

It marked a major change in the fortunes of the two favorite teams in central England. In 2021, Waitrose had a 4.2 per cent share of the market and M&S just 3.2 per cent.

Industry experts said Marks & Spencer is likely to outperform its rival for the first time this year, as it opens more food stores and continues to attract customers.

It would be another setback for the John Lewis Partnership, which owns Waitrose and the department store, and its outgoing chairman Sharon White.

STAR QUALITY: Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham (pictured) has boosted M&S over Waitrose

Star quality: Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham (pictured) has promoted M&S at the expense of Waitrose

As well as overtaking Waitrose, M&S is looking to extend its lead over John Lewis department stores in terms of clothing and home sales.

The 95-year-old John Lewis partnership has faltered in recent years, posting a loss of £234m in 2022.

Susannah Streeter, Head of Money and Markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “M&S food halls in high footfall areas, offering click and collect services for clothing and homewares, provide high value convenience to a growing number of customers.

“If it can hold on to these new customers, it will have a greater chance of beating its competition in the coming months.”

Separate data shows that M&S’s clothing and home sector is further outperforming department store John Lewis.

M&S increased its slice of this market to 3.7 per cent from 3.4 per cent in 2019 and at least 2.6 per cent in 2020 during the Covid lockdowns, according to GlobalData.

In contrast, John Lewis has seen its share remain broadly flat over the past five years. It retained its 2.3 percent slice of the market last year after falling from 2.4 percent in 2022.

GlobalData expects Marks & Spencer to hold 3.9 per cent of the market by 2027, while John Lewis will stagnate at 2.3 per cent, according to new analysis seen by The Mail.

The 95-year-old John Lewis Partnership has faltered in recent years under boss Sharon White (pictured), resulting in a loss of £234m in 2022.

The 95-year-old John Lewis Partnership has faltered in recent years under boss Sharon White (pictured), resulting in a loss of £234m in 2022.

Dan Coatsworth, investment analyst at brokerage AJ Bell, said John Lewis “seems to have lost his swagger with the nation”.

But Marks & Spencer has ditched its outdated clothing ranges and attracted new and younger shoppers thanks to star-studded partnerships.

Actress Sienna Miller was the face of the fall collection, and Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham also appeared in the Christmas ad.

Under the guidance of Chairman and retail veteran Archie Norman, CEO Stuart Machin has continued the chain’s transformation program.

Investors praised the strategy and shares have doubled since the beginning of last year, even after the recent decline.

By contrast, John Lewis is considering cutting 11,000 jobs and withholding its annual bonus in a bitter disappointment for staff last year.

It has been hit hard by the pandemic and high inflation.

Last month, White told employees to expect “very big changes and very bold changes” as the employee-owned company tries to return to profit.

She will step down in February 2025 at the end of her five-year term.

(tags for translation) Daily Mail

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