Marks & Spencer aims to recruit 200 people as part of its 2012 graduate and business placement programme.

There will be approximately 140 head office positions available, and 60 one-year placements for undergraduates.

This year the scheme includes seven specialist e-commerce roles as M&S prepares to ramp up its multichannel operations.

There are also positions in departments such as product technology, food development and fashion design, and buying and merchandising schemes.

Competition for places is likely to be fierce – last year there were more than 11,000 applications.

M&S head of recruitment Kay Jones-Wolsey said: “In a fast moving industry like retail, fresh and innovative thinking is essential to keep you ahead of the competition. 

“Our graduate and business placement schemes provide us with a pipeline of new and exciting talent, enabling us to develop the next generation of retail stars.”