Marks & Spencer is to offer its army of private investors a gift card instead of a dividend payment as the British retailer rethinks the way it rewards shareholders.
About 30pc of M&S equity is owned by private investors, one of the highest proportions in the FTSE 100 index of Britain's leading companies.
A decade ago billionaire Philip Green's attempt to take over M&S, one of Britain's best known retailers, failed partly because private investors were implacably opposed to him.
The company said yesterday that in partnership with share registrar Equiniti it will invite more than 190,000 of its UK-registered private investors to join a scheme which enables them to use money from dividend payments to purchase an M&S Shareholder Card.
The cards can be loaded with up to £1,000 at a 10pc discount to face value. The card will operate like a gift card by offering credit to shop instore or online.