M&S: Stores with a human touch will be the future, says chair

M&S chairman Archie Norman has said that the upmarket retailer will not rely on self-checkouts in the future as they have a “robotic type of feel”.

The supermarket boss took to the air in an interview on radio station LBC to speak about his opinion on ‘no-till’ stores.

When asked if self-checkouts are a good idea, Norman said: “I’m a believer in service. I think that people who come to our shops have to feel they’ve got that human touch…Some stores now you see go to pretty well fully automated, no touch, robotic type of feel, with security gates. I don’t think that should be the future for M&S.”

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The M&S boss also gave his opinion on the issue of shoplifting, adding that the retailer was receiving “very little help from the police”.

“I think it is a problem…we do worry about it a lot. But our actual theft has gone down, not up. But that’s mostly because of what we’re doing. We spent a lot of money on it. We get very little help from the police,” he said.

“I think we have to accept the police are not interested in this sort of crime anymore. Whether we like it or not, that’s the way it’s gone.”

On the ongoing dispute over the redevelopment of its Marble Arch store and the recent news that communities secretary Michael Gove may be looking to block the plans a second time, Norman added: “You can’t have planning decisions made… on the likes and dislikes or peccadilloes of an individual [Michael Gove] who, incidentally, has never ever engaged with us.

“I don’t think he’s ever been around this building.”



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