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Plaid Questions M&S 'England' Signs

M&S offers local flavours from England

Plaid Cymru AM Dai Lloyd has called on Marks & Spencer to review its advertising policy following controversy around signage at its Foodstore on Pontardulais Road, Fforestfach.

The Plaid AM was approached by a constituent this week who was unhappy at signage at the Fforestfach store which reads: "Local Flavours - we work with growers & producers across every region in England to bring you the best we can find."

This latest issue follows controversy last month in Aberystwyth where the store disagreed with Ceredigion Council's Planning Committee around the need to translate its 'Foodhall' sign into Welsh.

Dai Lloyd, who is Plaid's Culture Spokesperson, has now written to Marks & Spencer outlining his concerns.

He said: "The signage in Marks & Spencer at Fforestfach may simply be an error, with signage meant for English stores incorrectly being erected in Wales, but it raises a number of questions.

"Clearly there is a question around how the company manages its signage and advertising programme. It shouldn't take anybody by surprise when I state that Fforestfach is not in England, so how has the sign ended up being erected there in the first place? If M&S were to promote German produce in France in this way, you could expect French customers to raise an eyebrow. The same is true here.

"I appreciate that M&S operates across the UK, but it needs to appreciate that the four nations of the UK; England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own distinct histories and cultures. The translation row in Aberystwyth, followed by this signage error in Fforestfach seems to suggest that company's understanding of the local context is not where it needs to be.

"This feeds into a wider issue involving UK-wide companies. Only last summer we had Marks and Spencer and JD Sports come under fire for their promotion of the England football team in Wales during the Euro2016 football tournament - a tournament in which Wales went on to reach the semi-finals.

"Corporations need to understand the local context, and treat Wales with the respect that it deserves - just as it would respect any other nation in which it operates."

An M&S spokesperson said: "We're proud to source locally across the UK, in Wales we work with a number of local suppliers to best serve our customers. The sign was put up by mistake and has now been replaced".

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