- Microsoft AI engineers will join forces with the M&S technology team
- They will explore and test the capabilities of AI in a retail environment
- It aims to create a competitive edge as many traditional retailers struggle
High street stalwart Marks and Spencer has joined forces with technology giant Microsoft as it bids to revive its fortunes using technology, including Artificial Intelligence.
The struggling retailer, which unveiled plans to shutter around 10 per cent of its shops earlier this year, will draw on Microsoft’s knowledge to test how AI can be used to transform the customer experience, improve its stores and make wider operations more efficient.
Marks & Spencer is in the midst of a turnaround as boss Steve Rowe strives to make the firm ‘digital first’
The two firms penned the deal last week, with M&S hailing the collaboration as a potential ‘game changer’.
M&S is battling to remain relevant in a what is a challenging and fast changing retail environment.
This year alone, Maplin, Toys R Us and Poundworld have all slumped into administration, while many other retailers are urgently disposing of stores and making job cuts in order to survive.
M&S has set about closing around 100 of its UK stores – a process which contributed to a 62 per cent profit drop in its last full year.
Chief executive Steve Rowe said: ‘M&S is transforming into a digital first retailer, at a time when the sector is undergoing a customer-led revolution.
M&S is closing 100 of its UK stores as it battles changing shopping habits and rising costs
‘We want to be at the forefront of driving value into the customer experience using the power of technology.
‘Working together with Microsoft to understand the full potential of how technology and artificial intelligence can improve the in-store experience for our customers and the efficiencies of our wider operations could be a game changer for M&S – and for retail.’