M&S offer investor customers a voucher dividend

MARKS & Spencer’s army of small shareholders will get the option of taking their dividend in the form of gift vouchers – and receive an extra 10 per cent.

Marks & Spencer will give shareholders an option. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Marks & Spencer will give shareholders an option. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The retailer has more than 190,000 private investors who together own almost a third of M&S stock. The new scheme will enable them to exchange their dividend pay-out to purchase a card up to the value of £1,000 at a 10 per cent discount.

The card can be used to shop in Marks’ UK stores and online. The scheme has been developed with Equinti, a company which manages shareholder registers.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Amanda Mellor, M&S group secretary, said: “Our private investors are also some of our most loyal customers and we’re continually looking at how we can best engage this important group of stakeholders. We’ve listened carefully to their feedback and believe that in the new Equinti scheme, we’ve identified a simple mechanic that rewards their investment in the company.”

Marks & Spencer will give shareholders an option. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Investors will be able to choose how much of their dividend they wish to use to buy an M&S Shareholder Card, with any remaining dividend balance paid as normal.

Equinti is to write to private shareholders over the next week to invite them to sign up by June, ahead of the next dividend payment, expected in July this year.

M&S said participation was optional and those taking part would still receive current shareholder vouchers, which are sent out each January. It said it had first revealed plans to enhance offers for its private shareholders in its 2014 annual report.

Shares in the retailer have been buffeted over the past year as clothing sales have struggled, putting pressure on chief executive Marc Bolland, though they have recovered in recent months after signs of improvement and a rise in half-year profits.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE SCOTSMAN’S BUSINESS BRIEFING