Groceries, furniture, clothing and now banking! The retail giant announces its plans to shake up the high street banking sector.
Marks & Spencer have confirmed they will be moving into High Street banking, with their first branch opening in July within their flagship store in Marble Arch. The new operation will see over 50 branches opening within high street stores in the next two years, with a predicted 500 new jobs created across the UK by 2013. This includes 400 customer-facing roles and around 100 roles at the company’s Chester based head office.
Branches will be open twice as long as traditional high street banks, reflecting M&S stores current opening hours, as well as enabling customers to bank while they shop from Monday to Sunday. Customers will benefit from 24 hour access to online banking, as well as UK-based call centres.
Each branch will feature private meeting areas, self-service banking points, as well as a bureau de change. Marks & Spencer’s aim is to create a relaxed, contemporary banking environment for its customers.
With over 3 million customers already using M&S Money products, including credit cards, savings and loans, the retail giant is no stranger to the sector. It plans to make current accounts available from autumn 2012 and mortgages will be offered by the bank at a later date.
In addition to its strong retail heritage, M&S Bank has the support of HSBC. M&S Money made a profit of £100 million last year, which was split equally between the retailer and HSBC.
Chief executive Marc Bolland said: “M&S is one of the most trusted brands on the UK High Street and we’ve achieved this by continually listening and responding to the needs of our 21 million customers. This bank will be built on M&S values; putting the customer at the heart of the proposition and delivering the exceptional service that sets us apart.”
Supermarket chain Tesco is also preparing to launch its own current account but has been forced to delay it until next year.
So what’s next for High Street banking?