Boycott Hits M&S Hard




For Immediate Release

24th January 2001

Boycott Hits M&S Hard

Since the nationwide picketing of Marks & Spencer (M&S) stores that began in November last year, the store has fallen victim to plummeting sales figures. Luc Vandervelde, the firm’s chief executive and chairman, reported an overall 5 per cent drop in sales for the 16 weeks up to 20 January.

The Islamic Human Rights Commission-sponsored boycott campaign, which has focused on M&S due to its commercial support of Israeli apartheid, has gone from strength to strength. By now, scholars and mosques from around the country officially support the boycott campaign and have been endorsing the weekly picketing programme locally. Yorkshire is among other areas which are coming forward to organise picketing. The boycott was initiated by Action Alert.

M&S initially claimed that the firm did not support any particular country. A spokeswoman, Jane Lowe, said: “We are not supporting any country. We do not support Israel. We just support good clothes.” Yet later statements have been issued in which the company has reaffirmed its historic and current ties with the Israeli regime. An M&S spokesperson recently confirmed that “We are as close to Israel as we have ever been” (Jewish Chronicle, 22 December 2000) In this regard, Lord Marcus Sieff, long-time Chairman of M&S, wrote that one of the objectives of M&S is to aid the economic development of Israel (Management: The Marks & Spencer Way, Weidenfield & This is not the first or the last child to be shot by Israelis. But this is the first one to be shot on TV.

Nicolson, 1990)

Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, said: “M&S has to realise that this is just the beginning. More and more communities across the country and around the globe are joining the boycott. M&S must learn that they cannot so blatantly support an apartheid system which targets and kills young children, simultaneously expecting that we will walk in and have a happy hour of shopping.”

For more information on the above, please contact the IHRC Press Office on (+44) 20 8902 0888, (+44) 958 522 196, e-mail: