The return of the Penny Bazaar: Marks & Spencer goes back to its roots by opening shop in marketplace where founder first set up stall 130 years agoRetail giant opens Victorian-style store in Kirkgate Market
First Marks & Spencer stall began trading there in the 1880s
Firm is exploring its heritage to mark opening of its archive to the public
M&S now has more than 1,000 outlets in 40 countries across the globe
It charts the development of the household name from its roots at Kirkgate Market to the present day.
Phil Edwards, Deputy Store Manager of M&S Leeds Briggate and Manager
of the new stall, said: 'We have had a lot of support from people
locally in Leeds about the launch of the new stall and we are very
excited to be bringing M&S back to its birthplace.
VIDEO No time to pop along Take a tour of 'Bazaar' with MailOnline
VIDEO: The return of the Penny Bazaar with Marks and Spencer!
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Founders: The men who gave us the famous Marks & Spencer brand – Michael Marks (left) and Thomas Spencer. Both
photographs were taken circa 1900
Roots: The arcade where Marks & Spencer was launched (circa 1909). Despite their early success, neither Marks or Spencer could have foreseen the scale of their firm's future success
As it was: The market hall in 1910. Marks & Spencer now has more than 1,000 stores in 40 countries
'I am looking forward to welcoming customers old and new on 15th March and showcasing the history of the company.'
Marks & Spencer has 703 stores in the United Kingdom and 361 stores
spread across more than 40 countries, and specialises in the selling of
clothing and luxury food products. Its revenue in 2012 was nearly 10 billion.
This weekend, M&S will also unveil a new Heritage Trail in partnership with Leeds City Council. The self-guided walk on Saturday will start at the Kirkgate store and
finish at the M&S company archive, taking in places of historic
interest for the company around the city.
Alison Houston, Head of the M&S Company Archive, said: 'We are very
excited about giving customers the chance to experience the origins of
Marks & Spencer right inside its original setting at Kirkgate
Celebration: M&S is revisiting its past in Leeds to mark the opening of its company archive to the public
Origins: The famous brand began life as a stall in Kirkgate Market – which is still a popular retail space
'M&S has deep historical links to Leeds, so the Heritage Trail is a
unique opportunity to learn more about the origins of the company nearly
130 years ago and its connection to various parts of the city centre
from 1884 through to the present day.'
Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member for
development and the economy said: 'It is great to see M&S returning
to its roots in Kirkgate Market.
'The market is an excellent place for new businesses to start up and
test their products before taking the big leap onto the high street. I am sure that this new stall, along with the heritage trail, will
stimulate great interest among visitors to the market and preview the
extensive retail history M&S has in Leeds.
'I look forward to joining customer, tourists and historians taking the heritage trail around the city centre.'
HOW A POOR REFUGEE CREATED A BRITISH HIGH STREET INSTITUTION
Success: The firm's flagship store in London's Oxford Street
The story of Marks & Spencer's
remarkable success began in the 1880s when Michael Marks, a Polish Jew,
joined forces with local man Thomas Spencer – a cashier.
Marks was working for a company in Leeds, called Barran, which employed refugees. A associate of his called Isaac Jowitt Dewhirst lent Mr Marks 5 which he used to establish his Penny Bazaar on Kirkgate Market, in Leeds.
Marks had little English when he arrived in Britain and received some tutelage from Dewhirst to help him with his business. But the most important contribution made by Dewhirst to the firm's success was when he introduced him to Spencer, who was known as an excellent book-keeper.
Marks began renting a permanent stall in Leeds' covered market, Kirkgate, in 1894 and invited Spencer to become his partner. Next to the stall was a poster with the words 'Don't Ask the Price, It's a Penny.'
After tasting early success, the pair rapidly expanded the business, opening market stalls around the North West of England.
The firm eventually spread throughout the UK, before opening stores in France, Canada, Hong Kong and around 40 other countries.
M&S in now best known for the quality of its products – and has more recently become a top destination for discerning food shoppers.
The firm had a global revenues of nearly 10 billion in 2012.