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Entrepreneurs make world go faster to a better place - Sir Stuart Rose
25
Feb '10
The forthcoming General Election was the most important since 1979, Sir Stuart told FPA members at Foreign Press Association-organized Retail in the world economy event.

Some very difficult decisions were coming, and everyone knew that more radical action, including increases in tax, would be needed from a new Government. Overall he thought the prospect was for very flat growth, not a “double dip”.

Sir Stuart said M&S was now in good shape, had come through the recession and was growing its revenues. Part of his job was to look to a future where M&S sold more goods and services under the M&S brand, where new technology - or “clicks and mortar” – made it as easy as possible for customers to get what they wanted, and where the group was expanding overseas.

He wanted to grow revenues overseas from the current 10% to 20% or even 30%. It would be a long journey, but Marks and Spencer would retain its strong ethical stance, focusing on sustainability and driving ethical behaviour down the supply chain. For example, M & S was one of the biggest users of cotton in the world and the company needed to get right down the supply chain to clean up production processes.

Sir Stuart said he was determined that people were treated fairly, paid properly, and worked in well run factories. It had been a “big mistake” to curtail European operations ten years ago; had he been back at M & S by then he would have reversed that decision.

During questions from FPA members, Sir Stuart defended the pay package of the man chosen as his successor as Chief Executive, Marc Bolland, and responded to questions about corporate governance, business action on climate change, changing demographics and market share. Sir Stuart said he would remain as M & S Chairman until the turn of the year, and in the future would like to divide his time between working in a profit and a non-profit organisation – with other entrepreneurs, and probably consumer facing.

Foreign Press Association

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