Sunday 26 February 2017

Marks and Sparks committed to being a shining example

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Outgoing Marks & Spencer executive chairman Stuart Rose
Outgoing Marks & Spencer executive chairman Stuart Rose

Outgoing Marks & Spencer executive chairman Stuart Rose has said the retailer remains committed to the Irish market despite the economic challenges being faced here.

Speaking to an audience yesterday in Dublin at a conference on corporate responsibility and sustainability, Mr Rose said that M&S had been in the Republic for 32 years and had invested over €250m here in the past five years. The retailer is to open its latest store here, in Douglas, Cork, next week.

"We are a long-term business," said Mr Rose. "We, along with many of you, have seen worse: we were here in the Eighties when tax rates hit 60pc and equally we were here in the boom times of the Nineties." Businesses here are dealing with the effects of a "vicious recession" and a massive budget deficit.

"This hopefully short-term squeeze is real, and it hurts," he said. It was essential for businesses to adopt a sustainable approach to their operations, and outlined a raft of innovations that had been introduced by M&S.

"The recession has masked fundamental shifts in the way businesses, governments and societies access resources, customers, employees, markets and capital," he said. "There is not enough to go around." By 2030 the globe will need to be producing 50pc more food, 50pc more energy and 30pc more fresh water.

The conference, which was hosted by non-profit group Business in the Community Ireland, was also addressed by executives from companies including Pfizer, AT&T, NTR and Coca-Cola.

Irish Independent

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