Under the 'Vision', 'Mission', 'Values' objectives comes other, more intricate objectives such as "focusing actions on the customers and their needs", "improving performance by setting clear and demanding targets", "communicating with other stakeholders on the issues that are important to them".
To have completed objectives successfully Marks & Spencer need to raise performance levels to a rate at which they are deemed industrious in their respective market.
Satisfying a host of stakeholders who, in the end, determine the objectives, is a step towards a financially secure and hence successful company.
Owners, workers, managers, the government, consumers and environmentalists all have an influence on the outcome of an objective. Owners will want substantial returns from their investment and so will be looking for objectives to maximise profits. The government will require the company to follow laws and legislations making objectives rather less influential on the firm's revenue. Consumers will expect quality products and services orientating both the objectives and strategies to this goal.
Behavioural theories of different stakeholders suggest that the faction which governs the business will determine its objectives. However, there are different factors that may influence the choice of objective for instance the size of the firm. Where smaller businesses may be satisfied with maintaining profits or survival, larger companies like M&S may want growth or monopolisation. The state of the economy is another factor M&S has to unravel to decide upon its objectives. During a recession many firms concentrate on survival (this applies to large firms as well).
Marks and Spencers profits have fallen by £74m before tax for the year with sales continuing to slide in the past months despite the retailer's much publicised efforts to change things around, objectives haven't been consistent to market trends.
Clothing, footwear and gift sales were down by 5.5% compared to last year.
Its adult clothing department, womenswear in specific, performed poorly as the chairman and chief executive Luc Vandevelde emphasizes, "Sales of adult clothing during the period were unacceptable".
Consumers, who pursue their own objectives, may not necessarily want the cheapest item on sale but one which they perceive as being 'value for money'. Consumers also want service to be of a high standard.
There is currently a highly competitive retail market in the UK, which has consequently affected M&S in the clothing sector. The UK retail clothing market was estimated to be worth £30.07bn in 2000, having grown by just 3.8% over the past year.
A downfall in sales could, and some argue, should have been avoided by a more intense market research campaign. The styles and preferences of consumers could have been analysed so as to increase awareness of any trends taking place or that were to take place. Brand new products could have then been launched as a result of the new found data with less chance of them flopping on their release. Such has been the case with products like Nike air trainers, Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses and Levi jeans.
Animal rights group based in the United States have persuaded M&S to put a halt to buying Indian leather because of "cruel slaughtering practices". This revelation may have had a crippling effect on the companies image, allowing for consumers to boycott the retailer in favour of more 'humane' organisations.
Textile manufacturing is in serious decline. Another reason for spiralling sales in the retail sector is that clothing retailers continue to find trading complicated in the face of uncertain consumer demand and heavy discounting by lesser brands. Marks and Spencer PLC, Arcadia Group PLC and Moss Bros Group PLC are amongst the well known High Street names struggling to maintain their position. The first casualty has been C&A who admitted defeat and withdrew completely from the British market in early 2001.
Mr. Vandevelde goes on to say, "We have many strengths to build upon... Most importantly, the UK business has much clearer focus and direction to deliver adult clothing ranges of greater quality and appeal in a better store environment".
Its companies such M&S, competing in the middle market, that are finding business difficult, as the market favours value or premium brands. Firms that are thriving include value chains such as Matalan PLC, Peacock's Stores Ltd and Primark Stores Ltd, which are growing rapidly and are expected to increase their market share.
An objective therefore for M&S would be to either lower prices or to introduce designer labels in an attempt to enhance sales and improve image which has been faltering in the past years.
It seems as if M&S are trying to expand their business to different parts of the country, increasing costs and reducing turnover that could have been used more efficiently in areas such as public relations. Once this goal is fulfilled, the 'Mission' objective stating 'To make aspiration quality accessible to all' can be completed.
Some of the decline in profits has been accredited to astonishing charges in relation to Vandevelde's transnational reshuffle.
The decision to close M&S stores across mainland Europe and to sell its US business has led to a one-off charge totalling £335.4m.
The fall in productivity can be explained by the numerous job losses encountered by M&S who have been forced to let over three and a half thousand people go from their positions. Their expensive Baker Street headquarters has been closed down with above average running costs which neither M&S nor its shareholders could handle.
Marks and Spencers 'Values' objective was bound to have been unsuccessful due to the firms continuous investment in collateral which has proven to be unprofitable according to M&S's financial summery. The capital invested took a huge amount out of the companies turnover and so they couldn't endow services like quality, value, innovation, service or trust which all come under the 'Values' objective.
Nevertheless, the fall in annual profits to £480m is smaller than most analysts had expected. They predicted sales would decline to £460m from £557m last time.
It can be argued that the slow-down in the decline of sales can be looked upon as a success in as far as meeting objectives is concerned.
This is either as a direct consequence of food and home sales rising by 3.7% and 11.5% respectively or by the launch of the new "per una" line designed by Next founder George Davis.
By targeting a new market, in M&S's case the food sector, they have effectively conquered an area which has had a lot of promise if trends are anything to go by. The group has opened small-scale food focused stores, called Marks and Spencer Simply Food, in an attempt to exploit its success in the sector.
Opening two Simply Food stores in London and further refurbishing 90 outlets has been a courageous attempt to carry out objectives successfully. The positive nature of the move was mirrored in a briefing by M&S which said, "These enhancements will be very visible to customers, substantially improving their shopping experience".
Marks and Spencer's loss in market position may have been attributed to short product lifecycles, which are often cut short by disruptive technological innovations that are not anticipated by dominant firms like M&S therefore leading to drastic changes in their market position. Where established firms lose their dominant position, previously unknown firms gain the dominant positions.
To maintain the demand in food products, Marks and Spencers would be advised to instigate an add-campaign. This would help obtain and also retain customers that were otherwise "poached" by the firm's biggest competitors. Sainsbury's have had a telling run of commercials associated with their own brand foods which have improved notability and hence has been reflected in their annual sales.
Other objectives for promotion are to make consumers aware of a product which has perhaps lain dormant; to reach a target audience that may be geographically spread; to signify that a product is better than that of its rivals; to remind consumers of a product, encouraging existing customers to re-purchase the product.
With M&S's 'Vision' objective was a principle stating: To communicate with our stakeholders on the issues that are important to them. Although it is still too early to tell, it appears as if meeting this objective has been cost-effective in that the company has carried out significant market research to judge what the consumer really wants.
The new "per una" line has shown signs of recovery for M&S in the clothing sector as the public have taken a liking to the innovative products.
Bargain hunter Margaret Sherrington told the people at BBC News Online that the range was far more trendy and appealing than anything the company had produced in a long while.
"The colours are fantastic and the detailing on the cloths is great. I have always shopped at M&S but in the last few years I have been disappointed by what is on offer and have started to shop at other stores. This range will change all that. It is trendy and really good value. M&S will definitely be able to compete with other high street stores."
Technological aspects of Marks and Spencer come under all the 'Vision, Mission, Values' objectives in that they are interlinked.
With Marks & Spencer Financial Services, they "are working hard to make life easier for you". As a registered Customer Centre user you can view Marks & Spencer Cards and Personal Reserve Statements, and Personal Loan balances. You can check recent transactions and apply on-line for a Personal Loan or a Personal Reserve Account. Other such accommodating features include changing personal details, increasing credit limits on 'Chargecards' or 'Budgetcards' and also cards are kept protected with 'Card Safe'.
In regards to completion of the technological and financial goals, all were successful as they increased productivity (more products being produced in less time); reduced wastage (time was saved and fewer materials used); improved the working environment (accidents decreased with the new technology, removing worker dissatisfaction); improved motivation (communication was quicker with no hassle); and increased income (greater profits meant that M&S could afford to pay more to shareholders and higher wages to employees).
Rates and services are kept competitive so rivals always have something to think about and there are no monopolies meaning there is always room for growth.