Marks & Spencer is teaming up with Microsoft in a bid to shake off its reputation as a digital laggard.

A strategic partnership between the two companies will focus on testing the integration of Microsoft artificial intelligence (AI) tech into M&S stores and wider operations.

Today's announcement comes a day after a former M&S digital boss said that the retailer should look at a tie-up with Amazon to improve its digital infrastructure,

M&S chief Steve Rowe said at the company's most recent results announcement that its performance in the digital sphere had not been good enough.

Today he said that the partnership with Microsoft would help to make M&S a "digital first" retailer.

“Working together with Microsoft to understand the full potential of how technology and artificial intelligence can improve the in-store experience for our customers and the efficiencies of our wider operations could be a game changer for M&S – and for retail.”

Cindy Rose, chief executive of Microsoft UK, said: “The retail sector is one of the most challenging landscapes in the UK right now and we are thrilled to be working with M&S to explore how AI can help such an iconic brand transform the customer experience and improve wider operations.”

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