Marks & Spencer ready for price war in Ireland as cuts announced

M&S says move ‘biggest-ever price investment in the Republic’ as 200 stores to close in UK

While M&S’s trading is solid in the Republic, it is a different story in the UK where the chain plans to close  about 10 per cent of its network by 2022

While M&S’s trading is solid in the Republic, it is a different story in the UK where the chain plans to close about 10 per cent of its network by 2022

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Marks & Spencer has fired the first salvo in what could quickly turn into a major price war across premium supermarket chains with long-term price cuts averaging 24 per cent across about 200 of its key product lines.

Describing the move as “its biggest-ever price investment in the Republic” since it opened its first Dublin store almost 40 years ago, some of the cuts announced will bring the price of staples including milk, bread and eggs into line with those offered by German discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Some of the more dramatic reductions announced on Wednesday see the price of a litre of milk reduced from 99 cent to 75 cent while the cost of a sliced white pan falls to 69 cent from €1.20.

Cost less

Ken Scully, M&S Ireland country manager, said that as a result of the reductions, some product lines will cost less in the Republic than in the UK.

He said the retailer had focused its price reductions to become “much more relevant” among average shoppers with some of the prices “right on the button” when it comes to prices in other retail chains. He stressed there would be “no diminishing of the quality we offer in any shape way or form”.

Weak consumer spending

While M&S’s trading is solid in the Republic, it is a different story in the UK where it plans to close more than 100 stores – or about 10 per cent of its network - by 2022 as it grapples with weak consumer spending and intense competition from supermarkets, Primark, Zara and H&M and online retailers.

Mr Scully insisted its price reductions in the Republic had nothing to do with difficulties in the UK business and said he saw no store closures on horizon in this jurisdiction.

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