Underwear war broke out at this month’s First Tuesday event (www.firsttuesday.com
), held at London’s Vinopolis on May 2. During a lively discussion about the future of E-tailing in Europe (with a bizarre recurring theme of ladies’ smalls), the event revealed that a certain leading high street retailer has its knickers rather in a twist about selling online. Morris Helsgott, MD of Marks and Spencer Ventures, got caught with his pants down.
Trying hard to sound positive --as a prime mover in the company’s Internet investment arm should-- he was prepared to predict only a ‘very, very small’ future for E-tail which, he believes, will remain unprofitable, succeeding only where complemented --and funded-- by an offline strategy. This rather gloomy view of the B2C environment on the part of M&S won’t have gone unnoticed by the majority of those present. Marks and Spencer’s attitude towards online selling might have appeared a little less negative (and, who knows, a sale or two may have been clinched) had somebody thought to provide an address for the M&S Web site, but it was not to be. Just for you, however, the site’s URL is: http://www.marks-and-spencer-gifts.co.uk/index.html