M&S is one of the UK's leading clothing, home and food retailers. Its history dates back to 1884 when Michael Marks opened his first "penny bazaar" in Leeds. Marks went into business with Tom Spencer in 1894 and the business as we know it started to take shape.
Over the years the brand became known as Britain's favourite clothing store and is particularly noted for its lingerie. Today it is said that every one in three bras sold comes from M&S.
The retailer has faced increasing competition, most notably from value players such as Primark in recent years, but still commands the largest share of the clothing market in the UK with 7.6%, according to GlobalData (Primark commands 7%).
Marks & Spencer is in the midst of a retail and digital transformation under CEO Steve Rowe. It is revamping its store portfolio reducing the floor space dedicated to clothing, closing some unprofitable full-line stores and opening more Simply Food stores which can also act as pick up points for online orders. It has recently signed a joint venture with online grocery service Ocado, which will come into play in 2020.