£9bn fund manager ditches Amazon shares for M&S

The manager of a £9 billion investment firm has halved its stock in Amazon while buying shares in Marks & Spencer.

Baillie Gifford’s Iain McCombie said his company had not owned part of the grocer in at least 25 years, but there were “early signs” that it “might be turning around”.

“Some investors see Marks & Spencer as a tired business, but we think the management team is addressing a lot of its issues,” he told The Telegraph.

“The new joint venture with Ocado is a really exciting opportunity to grow its online food offering.”

READ MORE: Festive shopping brings M&S early Christmas present

While most supermarkets lost momentum as lockdown restrictions lifted this summer, Marks & Spencer increased its food revenue by 10.8 per cent in the first quarter.

It was relatively late to the e-commerce shift but signed a £750 million delivery deal with Ocado in September 2020.

However, the partnership has not been without friction: in July, chairman Archie Norman said the tech firm had “issues” and “doesn’t cover a lot of the country”.

In the past year, Marks & Spencer’s share price has soared from 88.72p to 183.40p.

McCombie added that Baillie Gifford had halved its stake in Amazon because its “opportunities for growth are [not] as strong as they were”.

“The stock has delivered exceptional performance, but where’s the upside from here?” he asked.

McCombie claimed that Jeff Bezos’ resignation as chief executive was another “big factor” in the decision to ditch the stock.

He said: “You can’t overestimate how important he has been to the Amazon story. 

“No matter how good his successor is, it will be very hard to live up to what he has achieved.”

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