Marks & Spencer appears to evolve as a high street retailer faster than any of its supermarket competitors, both up and down the scale of price.
Five years after launching sustainability project Plan A, it has declared itself to be the first major retailer to be carbon neutral.
Of course, Plan A was launched during the sometimes controversial tenure at the top of former chief executive and chairman, Stuart Rose, who was in charge when profits soared to £1bn in 2008.
So any bouquets which M&S can now lay claim to over its Plan A are thanks to Sir Stuart’s work and innovation.
But in a volte-face of which the Coalition government would be proud, Marks & Spencer has owned up to being unable to meet six of the Plan A commitments, due to falling customer demand for organic foods and supply chain problems hindering its use of Fairtrade cotton.
M&S chief executive Marc Bolland said the chain was now “better, greener and more ethical,” as a result of Plan A.
The company has also unveiled new store formats, many of which can now be spotted in Northern Ireland.
The revamps include |new-look foodhalls, new bakeries and improved clothing |displays.
Bolland has been credited with transforming north of England-based supermarket chain Morrisons, which itself had a short-lived foray into the Northern Ireland market around seven years ago.
Its slightly smug advertising campaigns have also deepened the imprint of M&S on consumer minds, with its Christmas campaign much-imitated by competitors.
Yet the company’s womens- wear is often under attack for being too predictable and safe, and in danger of being outdone by rivals like Next and online operation Asos.
Bolland has reason to feel sensitive after receiving a £2.5m pay deal despite M&S suffering its first fall in profits in three years.
Underlying profits fell 1% to £705.9m in the year to March 31. While revenues were to grow by between £1.5bn and £2.5bn in the next three years, the tough climate has seen those targets downsized.
His latest pay packet is down nearly half on his 2011 deal and will now go before shareholders who will get to vote on Mr Bolland’s remuneration when the company’s annual meeting takes place in July.
He will be wondering if his scalp may also be claimed by the so-called ‘shareholder spring’ as other company chiefs have been humiliated by shareholders over excessive pay.
If that happens, he may need a Plan B.