Marks and Spencer plc (also known as M&S; colloquially known as Marks and Sparks, Marks's or, simply, Marks) is a major British multinational retailer headquartered in the City of Westminster, London. It specialises in the selling of clothing, home products and luxury food products. M&S was founded in 1884 by Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer in Leeds.
In 1998, the company became the first British retailer to make a pre-tax profit of over £1 billion, although subsequently it went into a sudden slump, which took the company, its shareholders, who included hundreds of thousands of small investors, and nearly all retail analysts and business journalists, by surprise. 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.