Marks & Spencer will meet with health select committee member Paula Sherriff to explain the high prices it charges at its hospital stores.

A Marks & Spencer spokeswoman told Retail Week the retailer is liaising with the office of Labour MP Sherriff to arrange the meeting.

It is understood a senior representative from M&S will meet with Sherriff, the date of which is yet to be revealed.

WHSmith boss Stephen Clarke has already agreed to meet Sherriff on September 17 about its pricing strategy after reports emerged that WHSmith and Marks & Spencer were charging more at their hospital stores than they do on the high street.

Sherriff told Retail Week she will demand to see clear evidence of additional operating costs at hospital stores from the retailers in order to justify their decision to charge higher prices. 

She has threated to continue pursuing the hospital pricing issue “through any route”, which could involve her raising questions in Parliament if she is unsatisfied with the evidence provided by the retailers.

Operating costs

An M&S spokeswoman defended the higher prices in M&S’s hospital stores. She said they are a result of more expensive operating costs.

“Prices can be a little higher in these locations due to increased running costs”

M&S spokeswoman

She said: “Customers tell us they appreciate our stores in travel locations and hospitals and we work hard to keep prices competitive.

“However, in line with other retailers, prices can be a little higher in these locations due to increased running costs, such as longer opening hours.”

M&S’s 21 hospital stores are run by franchise partners, which are split across WHSmith, Compass and SSP. Catering company SSP is run by former WHSmith boss Kate Swann.