Sir Stuart Rose, the boss of retailer Marks and Spencer, was on TV this morning defending his company’s fall in sales figures over the Christmas period. The High Street giant saw a fall of more than 2% compared with the same three months in 2006. Even though Sir Stuart presented an up-beat and positive response to the situation, shares in the company initially fell by 19% – wiping the value of the company by almost a fifth.

What a ridiculous response from the City. If they had delved into the figures a bit more, they would have found that M&S online sales had increased by a whopping 78% compared with Christmas a year ago. In other words, the 2% fall would have been much, much worse, if M&S had not done so well online. Indeed, without the online sales increase, M&S would have been looking at a potential crisis today, rather than a blip.

This clearly shows a huge shift – even amongst “traditional” M&S customers – to online purchasing. Shopping on the Internet is now clearly an everyday occurrence and not just an occasional matter for the technically adept. So just think what M&S could have achieved if their online shop had been any good. At the moment, though, their online shop and whole approach to Internet marketing, leaves quite a bit to be desired as I have explained in a previous article.

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