01 February 2001
Beleaguered high-street retailer Marks & Spencer is to cut the lead times for getting goods to the shopfloor after it reported worse than expected pre-Christmas trading figures.
"Shorter lead times will give us more flexibility and allow us to respond to fashion trends," said a spokeswoman. "It is part of a drive to attract younger customers which began with the launch of the Autograph range last March."
Marks & Spencer used to buy 80 per cent of stock a year before a season start and 20 per cent six months before. It will now purchase 60 per cent of stock a year before, 30 per cent six months before and 10 per cent during the season.
The move follows a shift away from UK suppliers in November 1999, when the company cut its number of UK suppliers by 20 per cent. The firm now sources 30 per cent of stock from the UK. "We get excellent response times from our overseas supply chain," said the spokeswoman. "We can get items on to the shopfloor within 48 hours of order."