Discussing Energy Economics on the Internet

Some Energy With That, Ma’am?

Posted in Retail,UK by Cheryl Morgan on the October 15th, 2008

Several UK papers are reporting (here, here and here) the story that Marks & Spencer are to go into the energy retail business. This probably means little outside of the UK, unless you happen to know ex-pat British women who insist on going back home to buy their underwear (M&S undies are legendary), but it is an interesting development.

M&S is one of the few retail chains in the UK that has made a success of selling premium product. They consistently get away with charging more for their clothes and food on the grounds that they provide better quality. And their electricity deal with Scottish & Southern Energy explicitly sources the power from hydroelectric stations. As I noted last week, Ofgem has found the UK consumers are overwhelmingly focused on price when they buy electricity. The idea of paying more for “green” power simply doesn’t appeal to them. But if any retail company can make a success of selling a premium energy product it will be Marks & Spencer.

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