M&S to start selling energy

15 October 2008

Marks & Spencer is to launch into the energy market through a partnership deal with Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE).

The high street retailer, perhaps best known for selling underwear and own-branded food, will offer gas and electricity tariffs through 16 of its store and online from 27 October. By November, it will expand to 62 stores.

M&S Energy will offer store vouchers as incentives for people that sign-up to its tariff, and will also reward households that manage to lower their energy usage by 10% in the first year with a £15 voucher. Those that opt for paperless bills will receive an additional £10 voucher.

Carl Leaver, a director at M&S, says: “The energy sector can be quite complex and we want to make it simpler for our customers. We also understand that the cost of living has risen for many customers and we hope to encourage them to save money by reducing their energy usage, as well as giving M&S store vouchers as rewards for doing so."

The new venture is another sign that the high street giant is looking to expand its range of services away from traditional income streams. In the UK, M&S continues to face tough trading conditions, with a 6% downturn. Sir Stuart Rose, the company’s chairman, recently revealed it plans to reduce planned investment to save cash.

Its profits are expected to be down from £1bn last year to around £500 million next year.

SSE, meanwhile, is the second biggest energy company in the UK, with over eight million customers. In April this year, it increased electricity bills by an average of 14.2%, while prices for gas increased by 15.8%.

In August, it hiked electricity bills by around 19.2% and gas bills by 29.2%.


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