Westminster Business School MBA graduate Jeremy Cobbold provided a look into what goes on behind the scenes at the store everyone is familiar with – Marks and Spencer – in the latest event of the University of Westminster’s popular Westminster Talks series on Wednesday 4 February.

The Head of Logistics Retail at M&S presented the sold-out lecture entitled ‘Marks and Spencer - An Insight into International Retailing’ in front of around 130 guests including retail analysts and journalists from publications such as Retail Week, Westminster students, staff and alumni.

Jeremy, who had completed his MBA in 2002 at the Westminster Business School, gave guests an overview of the logistics function at M&S and discussed the 131-year history of the company, its business strategy and building the brand overseas. Jeremy emphasised the importance of providing a familiar and consistent customer experience for shoppers across international markets.

Having worked within M&S for close to 20 years across Retail, Finance and Logistics divisions, guests were given an understanding of retail supply chains across the UK and international markets. The lecture highlighted the challenges and opportunities retailers face as they seek to expand internationally, looking at products and geographies to sell in as well as delivering the product to the consumer. A major challenge faced by many retailers is maintaining profit from clothing sales, he claimed.

“Innovation has always been a key part of what the company offers,” said Jeremy adding, “logistics requires planning, discipline, visibility and responsiveness.”

M&S has stores across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and continues to grow its international presence through a multi-channel approach. The business operates in over 50 territories worldwide with stores in Dubai, India, China, as well as new markets such as Azerbaijan. The chain has a £1.2 billion international turnover.

The event was part of the University’s Westminster Talks Lecture Series 2014/15, featuring talks by an outstanding array of Westminster alumni, Professors and Honorary Doctors and Friends of Westminster. The lectures underpin the university’s mission of excellence, creativity and innovation for the benefit of the wider society.

Upcoming public Westminster Talks Alumni Lectures will include former BBC journalist and Westminster alumni Sian Williams’ talk on ‘Journalism and post-traumatic stress – how do we protect our reporters?’ and Director of Brady Mallalieu Architects Angela Brady’s account of ‘The politics of Architecture - can we influence change?’ and many more.

To register for free tickets and to discover the full Westminster Talks programme, visit the Westminster Talks Lecture Series 2014/15 page.

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