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M&S Simply Food

M&S Simply Food
Locations:43 MSAs
Often accompanied by:WHSmith, Costa
Used by:Moto, BP
Predecessors:EDC, Halfords, Scoop, T2, The Body Shop, The Sock Shop
Typical opening hours:Motorway sites usually 7am-10pm
See also:Waitrose, SPAR

M&S Simply Food (originally introduced as Marks and Spencer Simply Food, now often shortened to M&S Food) is the express-style offshoot of Marks and Spencer's famous food hall. On the motorways, it can now be found at most Moto services, as well as at Moto's units within Extra's services.

M&S Food can also be found at many BP petrol stations, under a franchise agreement with BP under which BP pays for all the goods. This was agreed in 2005 and is set to last until at last 2030.

The motorway shops were the first of their kind and they quickly proved popular. They were extended to become mini-supermarkets, pushing out some of the other shops usually found at service areas.

Since 2016, smaller M&S Simply Food stores have been branded M&S Food to Go, with fewer items and an experience tailored towards the grab-and-go market. This includes some stores at service areas. The rethink also included introducing a few M&S Coffee To Go machines.

The Rugby store, opened in 2021, uses the name Marks and Spencer Food, with better quality décor and fewer chillers. This format closely matches M&S's own shops and could be introduced to more motorway sites. MFG are trialling a similar format in their BP branded petrol stations, where they promote themselves as selling M&S food, rather than describing the store itself as an M&S store. Meanwhile, Moto are now introducing M&S to their own forecourts.

Following Moto's success working with M&S, Welcome Break teamed up with Waitrose, and Roadchef teamed up with SPAR.

Introduction To Motorways

Marks and Spencer Simply Food.
The first generation of Moto stores.

The link between Moto and M&S dates back to Granada, who had spent a lot of time developing shopping areas, noting that they needed something simple to cope with sudden rushes of customers. They said they wanted a retail outlet where the customer could walk in and see high quality food and other products around them, increasing the variety of products available. Five service areas were earmarked to get the new brand but in practice it took them a long time to roll it out.

Granada became Moto, a Compass Group company. Fellow Compass Group company SSP had recently been opening M&S Simply Food Stores at railway stations, so Moto were easily able to access the brand. It was introduced to Toddington in 2003 for a six month trial.

The new M&S stores impressed Holiday Which?, who said in 2006 that the stores could be "well worth driving on the motorway for alone". Drivers associations praised the partnership for its variety of ready meals.

Moto were the first operator to find a loophole in the law whereby they could create their own subsidiary called 'Moto M&S', which would then allow them to use that name to promote their M&S offer without actually putting up any advertising. Moto then began a policy of dropping their own name from motorway road signs, and using the name 'Costa M&S' instead. This was partly a protest against the government's strict ban on advertising at the time.

Following a partnership with Costa in November 2021, M&S's food range (and branding) was introduced to service areas with a Costa, most of which already had an M&S nearby. but for the Roadchef sites this was a new offer. The food range will be introduced to Irish forecourts from late 2022 following a partnership with Applegreen, in an effort to increase M&S's presence in the country.

Long before M&S grocery stores were brought to the motorway, Trusthouse Forte had a grocery shop called 'Piknics' in the late 1980s. This mostly just sold sandwiches.


M&S Food (and similar brands) operate at most Moto and Extra services. These are: [view on a map - Download KML]


Beckington forecourt.
An M&S-branded forecourt shop.

M&S Food have a few branded stores at BP forecourts:

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