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Monday, July 26, 2004

Marks and Spencer

Marks & Spencer are one the dominant names on any British High Street. Indeed, in the realm of clothing they are the dominant name, with plenty of rivals but no equal. One measure of this is that despite losing market share for the past five years they are still the market leader by a considerable margin. As a result a couple of weeks ago they fought off a takeover bid from entrepreneur Philip Green. To put it mildly this has been the Big Story in the UK business world for the past few months.

On Sunday I discovered one reason why perhaps Marks and Spencer have been in trouble. So, there I am in London (visiting Waddling Thunder) and I decide that while I am there to go an buy myself a couple of pairs of trousers (or pants on the other side of the pond). Not expending terribly much effort in the brain department I decide to go to M&S, and since we are in the vicinity of Covent Garden we go to the store there. Whereupon we discover that they do not sell gentlemen's trousers. Shirts and ties yes, but no trousers.

I kid ye not.

We even asked a store attendent, who looked somewhat embarrassed. I have since mentioned this to a couple of people, and the common reaction was simply disbelief.

For the record I did eventually buy some trousers, in another Marks and Sparks (as the shop is colloqually known) in a store on Oxford Street.

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