I would like to tell you about shopping in the United Kingdom. Marks & Spencer is Britain’s favourite store. Tourists love it too. It attracts a great variety of customers from house wives to millionaires. Princess Diana, Dustin Hoffman and the British Prime-minister are just a few of its famous customers. Last year it made a profit of 529 million pounds, which is more than 10 million a week.
It all started 105 years ago when a young Polish immigrant Michael Marks had a stall in Leeds market. He didn’t have many things to sell: some cotton, a little wool, lots of buttons and a few shoelaces. Above his stall he put the now famous notice: «Don’t ask how much — it’s a penny.» Ten years later he met Tom Spencer and together they started Penny stalls in many towns in the North of England. Today there are 564 brances of Marks & Spencer all over the world: in America, Canada, Spain, France, Belguim and Hungary.
The store bases its business on 3 principles: good price, good quality and good service. Also, it changes with the times; once it was all jumpers and knickers. Now it sells food, furniture and flowers as well. Top fashion designers advice on styles of clothes. Perhaps, the most important key to its success is its happy well-trained staff. Conditions of work are excellent. There are company doctors, dentists, hairdressers, etc. And all the staff can have lunch for less than 40 pence.
Suprisingly tastes about food and clothes are international. What sells well in Paris, sells just as well in Newcastle and Moscow. Their best selling clothes are: for women — jumpers and knickers (M & S is famous for its knickers); for men — shirts, socks, pyjamas, dressing gowns and suits; for children — underwear and socks. Best sellers in food include: fresh chickens, vegetables and sandwiches, «Chicken Kiev» is internationally the most popular convience food. Shopping in Britain is also famous for its Freshfood. Freshfood is a chain of food stores and very successful supermarkets which has grown tremendously in the twenty years since it was founded, and now it has branches in the High Streets of all the towns of any size in Britain. In the beginning the stores sold only foodstuffs, but in recent years they have diversified enormously and now sell clothes, books, records, electrical and domestic equipment. The success of the chain has been due to an enterprising managment and to attractive layout and display in the stores. It has been discovered that impulse buying accounts for almost 35 per cent of the total turn over of the stores. The stores are organized completly for self-service and customers are encouraged to wander around the spaciously laid out stands. Special free gifts and reduced prices are used to tempt customers into the stores and they can’t stand the temptation.