Signing up to an annual direct debit payment plan from your energy supplier is supposed to help prevent bill shock as your payments are spread equally throughout the year. But it might not work like that...
Shareholders speak up at M&S AGM
One shareholder said not enough had been done to improve the bakeries in Marks and Spencer stores
Too many sleeveless dresses, elusive pain au chocolats and excessively loud music were among the concerns raised by M&S's outspoken shareholders at the company's typically eccentric annual meeting.
Perhaps more pressing an issue for small investors was the retail giant's more austere approach to its AGM, at which the traditional buffet spread of sandwiches and wine had been replaced by a less generous doggie bag.
But the group's loyal stakeholders, the majority of whom are well into their retirement years, still managed to take the board to task over more topical concerns such as executive pay and sliding sales.
However the group avoided a shareholder revolt as more than 95% of votes, including abstentions, backed the M&S remuneration report, despite concerns beforehand about a package that could land chief executive Marc Bolland with £6 million when including bonuses and long-term incentives.
Held at the Royal Festival Hall in London's Southbank, the question-and-answer session was more subdued and orderly than in previous years.
One shareholder told chairman Robert Swannell that the board needed to bring in a "new era for ladies' clothing" with "more dresses with sleeves".
Mr Swannell said this concern had been previously raised and in the last year the number of sleeveless dresses on offer was cut from 300-plus to 173.
Another shareholder said not enough had been done to improve the bakeries in M&S's stores.
"My wife is still struggling to find her morning pain au chocolat," he said.
Loud music in the stores caused one shareholder to abandon her shopping trip, while another said music should be "turned off completely".
related stories on msn
latest money videos
While Royal Mail showed an increase in yearly profits Marks and Spencer saw profits fall agaisnt last year's figures.
Date 21/05/13, Duration 1:51, Views 528
more on msn money
msn money poll
Would you like to receive offers from retailers – such as discount vouchers or sale previews - from your current account provider?
Thanks for being one of the first people to vote. Results will be available soon. Check for results
- Yes - I'd like to receive any offers that could save me money
- Yes - but only if they were tailored specifically to my spending habits
- No - I already know where to look for vouchers and discounts
- No - I don't want to be contacted by my bank about anything other than my account