M&S is one of the oddest businesses on the UK High Street. Unlike other general retailers - Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, my corner shop - they eschew the normal agnostic open platform approach that sees multiple brands from different suppliers appear on the shelves. Instead, the choice at M&S is between their own brand (or occasionally own brands) or nothing.
"Open beats closed", goes the mantra. Digital businesses fail when they close up; they are beaten by open competitors that innovate by becoming marketplaces of outside ideas. And yet Facebook, which by staying closed solves many of the problems of trust on the open web. And yet Apple, which by staying closed completely owned the online music space for half a decade and now seems poised to own a market for a fifth screen it invented from thin air. And yet M&S, which - while hardly a market leader in a UK retail market that belongs to Tesco - makes an increasingly respectable living as the closed platform of UK retail.