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Retailer Finance Branches

Marks & Spencer Set to Open Full M&S Bank

— June 13, 2012 — Business
Starting July 2012, UK retailer Marks & Spencer will launch M&S Bank, a set of full bank branches to be housed in select Marks & Spencer stores across the country. A joint venture with HSBC, the M&S Bank is an initiative to replace the retailer's current financial services arm M&S Money, which currently offers its customers the Marks & Spencer credit card.

Marks & Spencer plans to open 50 M&S Bank branches in the next two years. Following the retailer's store hours, the bank branches will allow customers to conveniently bank seven days a week while they shop. They will also receive 24-hour access to the M&S Bank online services and call centers. Along with the personal loans, car insurance and credit cards currently offered by M&S Money, the M&S Bank initiative will provide mortgages and current accounts.

One can't help but wonder whether such a move is a reaction to the implementation of banking services by other UK retailers, such as Tesco and Sainsbury's. However, M&S Bank's chief executive Colin Kersley claims, "We're not trying to compete with the big guys; we're trying to look after M&S customers."
Trend Themes
1. In-store Banking - Retailers are increasingly incorporating banking and financial services into their physical stores.
2. Convenience Banking - The trend towards offering banking services in nontraditional locations allows customers to access financial services more conveniently.
3. Retailer Financial Services Diversification - Retailers expanding their financial services offerings can potentially disrupt traditional financial institutions by offering a more diverse range of services in one convenient location.
Industry Implications
1. Retail - Retailers can potentially disrupt the banking industry by incorporating banking and financial services into their stores, offering more convenience to customers.
2. Banking - Traditional banks may face increased competition from retailers if they continue to expand their financial services offerings.
3. Investment - Retailers that offer banking services can potentially disrupt the investment industry by providing more accessible and affordable investment opportunities to their customers.
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