Marks & Spencer Group PLC’s exit from the FTSE 100 underlines how times have changed since the blue-chip index was launched in 1984, when it was dominated by British companies including household names such as M&S, Cadbury and House of Fraser.
Home-grown talent is increasingly absent from the FTSE, now valued at US$2.4-trillion, as failure to grow domestically or make the cut internationally has seen companies disappear via mergers, demotions, de-listing or privatization.
MFI Furniture was among founding members of the index that failed to survive after privately owned IKEA entered the U.K. market in the 1980s.
British Home Stores and Magnet & Southerns were other big retail names that have either failed or been bought by other companies.
These household brands have been giving way to big corporations that make the bulk of their revenues outside Britain. The most recent FTSE constituents pocket just 29 per cent of their revenue from Britain.
M&S, which was the fifth-most-valuable company at the FTSE’s inception, now ranks just 111th by market capitalization – too small to qualify.
M&S shares have lost about 40 per cent of their value since January, 2018, as the British high street stalwart has struggled with competition in clothing and food, particularly online.
Other famous names at the risk of falling through the trap doors soon are Morrison Supermarkets, Sainsbury’s and B&Q-owner Kingfisher, now sitting at the bottom-end of the index.
Until recently, M&S, Sainsbury’s and Tesco were some of the 28 original members still in the FTSE.
New joiners in the most recent reshuffle included precious metals mining firm Polymetal International PLC, Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC, a generic drug maker earning the bulk of its revenue from the United States, and aerospace and defence group Meggitt PLC.
By sector weightings, banks and financial services, mining and energy stocks now make up nearly 40 per cent of the index, while retail has shrunk to less than 3 per cent from 8 per cent in 1996.
Other major sectors to take a hit in the past two decades were technology, media and telecoms, which together have shrunk to just 7.5 per cent from nearly a quarter in early 2000s.