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  • Partnership will investigate and test the capabilities of technology and artificial intelligence in a retail environment
  • Microsoft AI engineers will partner with the M&S technology team
  • Important next step in M&S’s Digital First Retailer focus, part of its business-wide transformation programme

LONDON — 21 June, 2018 — Microsoft Corp. and M&S today announced the signing of a strategic partnership focused on testing the integration of Microsoft AI technologies into M&S’ customer experience, stores and wider operations.

The partnership will see the two organisations work together to explore how technologies such as artificial intelligence can be utilised within the retail environment to improve customer experience and optimise operations. A team of world-class AI engineers and product personnel from Microsoft will partner with the M&S Retail Labs team to accelerate M&S’ digital transformation.

The announcement forms part of M&S’ drive to become a truly Digital First business that brings real value to its business and customers under its business-wide transformation programme. The partnership with Microsoft builds on M&S’s new Technology approach which was announced earlier this year.

Steve Rowe, M&S CEO, said: “M&S is transforming into a Digital First retailer, at a time when the sector is undergoing a customer-led revolution.  We want to be at the forefront of driving value into the customer experience using the power of technology.

“Working together with Microsoft to understand the full potential of how technology and artificial intelligence can improve the in-store experience for our customers and the efficiencies of our wider operations could be a game changer for M&S – and for retail.”

“We firmly believe that AI has the power to amplify human ingenuity,” says Cindy Rose, CEO, Microsoft UK. “The retail sector is one of the most challenging landscapes in the UK right now and we are thrilled to be working with M&S to explore how AI can help such an iconic brand transform the customer experience and improve wider operations.”

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For further information, please contact:

Microsoft Media Relations, Assembly Ltd, MSCommercial@Assemblyinc.com      

M&S Corporate Press Office: +44 (0)20 8718 1919

Notes to editors:

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

M&S is a unique retailer with a great heritage. We operate Food, Clothing & Home and other retail businesses using the M&S own-brand model, focused on delivering great value for money. Although primarily based in the UK, we sell into 57 countries from 1,463 stores and websites around the world. We employ 81,000 colleagues serving about 32 million customers. For more information visit corporate.marksandspencer.com

Making M&S Special 

In November 2017 Marks & Spencer set out a five year transformation programme for the business concentrating on Restoring the Basics, Shaping the Future and Making M&S Special. 

Under this transformation programme, Making M&S Special, M&S has to date announced: