Marks and Spencer plc (also known as M&S; colloquially known as Marks and Sparks, Markies or, simply, Marks) is a British retailer headquartered in the City of Westminster, London, with over 700 stores in the United Kingdom and over 300 stores spread across more than 40 countries. It specialises in the selling of clothing and luxury food products. M&S was founded in 1884 by Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer in Leeds.
In 1998, it became the first British retailer to make a pre-tax profit of over £1 billion, though a few years later it plunged into a crisis which lasted for several years. In November 2009, it was announced that Marc Bolland, formerly of Morrisons, would take over as chief executive from Executive Chairman Stuart Rose in early 2010; Rose remained in the role of non-executive Chairman until he was replaced by Robert Swannell in January 2011.
It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.