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Marks & Spencer is now offering in-store grown fresh herbs

Marks & Spencer is now offering in-store grown fresh herbs

 

Marks & Spencer is now offering in-store grown fresh herbs – including basils, mints, curly parsley and mountain coriander. The herbs are grown on Infarm vertical farming units at its re-opened Clapham Junction store in London, and the retailer is set to extend the programme to six other London stores by the end of the year. 

Infarm’s innovative farming technology combines highly efficient vertical farming units with the latest IOT technologies and machine learning to deliver a controlled eco-system with the optimum amount of light, air and nutrients. Each unit is remotely controlled using a cloud-based platform, which learns, adjusts and continuously improves to ensure each plant grows better than the last one. 

Erez Galonska, co-founder and CEO of Infarm said, “London represents many of the sustainability challenges that people will experience in cities over the next several decades. By offering produce grown and harvested in the heart of the city, we want to practice a form of agriculture that is resilient, sustainable and beneficial to our planet while meeting the needs of urban communities – first in London, and in the future, cities across the United Kingdom.”

Each in-store farm unit uses 95% less water and 75% less fertiliser than traditional soil-based agriculture and is capable of producing the equivalent of 400 square metres of farmland, resulting in a more sustainable use of natural resources and ensuring zero pesticide use. 

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M&S still growing ahead of market in food

In its latest annual report, the UK retail chain said despite the most competitive food market of recent years, it delivered like-for-like growth in every quarter and maintained its margin.

M&S says 2014/15 was an outstanding year for its food business “in a sector that continues to go through profound change.”

In its latest annual report, the UK retail chain said despite the most competitive food market of recent years, it delivered like-for-like growth in every quarter and maintained its margin. “We have a clear and distinct offering and our growth plans look clear and achievable,” it said.

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M&S has two divisions: Food, which accounts for 57% of its turnover, and General Merchandise, which accounts for the remaining 43%. Overall, it has 33 million customers through its 852 UK stores and e-commerce platform. Worldwide, M&S has 480 wholly-owned, jointly-owned or franchised stores in 59 territories across Europe, Asia and the Middle East. “Our International business now includes a fast-growing standalone Food operation, meaning that more people around the world can enjoy our delicious, innovative food products,” it said.

M&S said innovation remains its core strength as a speciality retailer. “In Food, we showed that we are at the forefront of discovery and creativity,” it said.

Expansion of convenience format: Simply Food

M&S said it opened 67 new stores during the year. Of these, 62 were its Simply Food convenience store format, taking its total to 504. It said franchise partners play a key role in this growth and in March it opened its 200th Simply Food store through a partnership with BP.

“We expect Food space to increase by 4.5% in 2015/16, again driven by growth in Simply Food store numbers,” the chain said in its report.

“The Simply Food format plays into evolving shopping habits. People are shopping more regularly and more locally, meaning that our convenience format is one of our key differentiating factors.”

M&S said it has “a strong pipeline with the fastest Food store opening programme planned in M&S’s history.”

“The UK food market will remain challenging but we are well positioned with a store format that caters for how shopping habits are changing.” 

source: M&S
 

 

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M&S’s dancing fruit and bursting berries

Boasting that its marketing campaigns constantly break new ground, the UK retail chain said its ‘Adventures In…’ Food ads used new photography techniques to showcase food innovation.

M&S highlights the importance of store presentation in its latest annual report.

Boasting that its marketing campaigns constantly break new ground, the UK retail chain said its ‘Adventures In…’ Food ads used new photography techniques to showcase food innovation.

If you missed the dancing fruit, bursting berries and other fancy food features, you can catch them here.