Marks & Sparks Isn't Throwing Off Any

A profit plunge throws cold water on the retailer's global push

Aside from British Broadcasting Corp. and the monarchy, there's probably no other institution as much a part of British daily life as Marks & Spencer. The $13.7 billion retailer sells one out of four men's suits bought in the country. Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher buys her underclothes there, along with 40% of British women. Chances are nearly everyone on a British street is wearing something from Marks & Sparks, as it is affectionately nicknamed.

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