Marks & Spencer Shares Gain as Adderley Unveils Stake

Marks & Spencer Group Plc, Britain’s largest clothing retailer, gained in London after disclosing that a founder of the Dunelm homeware chain took his stake in the company above 3 percent.

The shares advanced 2.1 percent to 503.5 pence, the highest closing price since Sept. 24.

Bill Adderley owns about 48.5 million Marks & Spencer shares, the London-based retailer said today. The stake, worth about 247 million pounds ($396 million) at current prices, makes him the company’s seventh-largest investor.

Adderley has held a stake in M&S for at least 18 months and his holding recently breached the 3 percent disclosure threshold, said a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. An M&S spokesman declined to comment beyond the statement.

Dunelm has a market value of about 1.8 billion pounds.

“He’s brave to take such a big punt on an M&S recovery,” Nick Bubb, an independent retail analyst in London, said in an e-mail.

Marks & Spencer’s general-merchandise sales have fallen for eight straight quarters. Chief Executive Officer Marc Bolland is expanding the company’s food and online offering, while adding international stores as clothing sales struggle at home. The retailer is due to report first-half earnings Nov. 5.

(Corrects to show Bill, not Will, Adderley bought the stake and removes references to Will.)