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We’ve been clear that this means delivering long-term value for all our stakeholders through offering trusted value to our customers. Trusted because they can count on a great price, great quality and feel confident that they can trust us to source and sell our products ethically and with care. When we are at our best, this is what sets us apart and we are determined to get back to that.

So the transformation of the business has rightly included the transformation of Plan A. In the past 12 months, we have started to transform the programme so that it is fully embedded into our family of accountable businesses; actively led by our leadership team as a core part of their business plan. 

However whilst the purpose of today’s report was planned to give an update on our 2019/20 performance and the first steps in our transformation, and the graphic below illustrates what we have achieved, much of our focus has rightly been on responding to the Covid-19 crisis. The way the whole M&S team rallied to deliver for customers, colleagues, suppliers and communities over the last couple of months has been incredible and is a timely reminder of what M&S can do when it puts its mind to it. 

For instance, the NHS told us that they had a real need for clothing care packs to support patients in their care, additional scrubs for medics and food to feed staff working round the clock to save lives. Our Food and Clothing and Home teams responded with solutions to deliver these much-needed products into the NHS in a matter of days. Our International business did their bit to support local communities too, providing HSE Ireland with clothing and toiletries for healthcare staff and patients and donating to our partners in India. 

Earlier in the year, we began introducing a new app to integrate our food redistribution programme into our day-to-day food operations – making it even easier for our colleagues to track surplus food in real-time and share with local organisations to support those in need. In the face of the Covid-19 crisis, we accelerated the app’s roll-out to all of our 600 stores in March, enabling our colleagues to donate over one million meals to local community causes in over just two weeks. I’m proud that, across the year, we were able to deliver a 160% increase in the amount of food we redistributed compared to 2017/18.

As we are doing in our Never The Same Again agenda, we are learning the lessons of our response to Covid-19 in Plan A too and we know that, now more than ever, customers will be looking even more to brands they can trust and have confidence in.

We know we’ve more to do and, over the next 12 months, we are determined to show our colleagues and customers how we’re taking action on the issues that matter most to them and help create a more sustainable future for the whole M&S family.