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Marks and Spencer

1078 of 1172 nominations


Marks and Spencer

Is this an icon?


Marks and Spencer

“Don’t ask the price, it’s a penny,” proclaimed a sign above Michael Marks’ stall in Kirkgate open market in Leeds. The year was 1884. Ten years on, this Russian born Polish refugee joined forces with Tom Spencer, a cashier from a wholesale company – and Marks and Spencer’s was born. The company went from strength to strength, buying the London Penny Bazaar Company in 1914, extending its influence into the South and then nationwide. The store made its reputation by selling only British-made goods (99% of stock was their boast), offering value for money but – most importantly – high quality. M&S, or ‘Marks and Sparks’ as it was affectionately known, became such a familiar icon of British business that it didn’t even need to advertise. It was not until the mid-1990s that the first television advert for M&S clothing appeared. With the rising prices of British suppliers forcing the company to re-define its British-only image in order to stay competitive, the brand name began to falter at the end of the 1990s. But admit it, where do you buy your underwear?

Image: TopFoto.co.uk


Your comments

nobody English can live without Marks & spencer's food and underwear

pearl valentine

One of my fondest memories of visiting the U. K. (which was many times as I have family there) is when I was young and we went into M & S to get cardigans. I can close my eyes and picture it just like it was yesterday. No store will ever compare in my mind.
Deborah Scott

Marks & Spencers was born and bread in Leeds and is a true icon of all that can be and is possible, from starting out as a penny shop in Leeds Historic Kirkgate Market - to now being one of the most recognisable icons of the high street. The Flagship store still sits on the famous thousand year old street of 'Briggate' in Leeds and Leeds loiners are very proud of this fact.
Angelique Williams

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I nominate the red pillar box.

Donna Spencer