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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
M&S to charge for shopping bags
M&S store
Charging for bags is a first for Marks and Spencer
Shoppers will soon have to pay for plastic carrier bags in Marks and Spencer's 14 Northern Ireland stores.

Chief executive Stuart Rose announced the plans as the company revealed a 28% rise in annual profits.

Mr Rose said local customers would be the first to have to pay five pence for a plastic bag during a trial period beginning in July.

He said Marks and Spencer's shoppers would be given a free "bag for life" in the month preceding the trial.

Mr Rose said the company was "conscious of the need to get the use of carrier bags down".

"We have said that if that bag for life runs out, we will replace it," he said.

Stuart Rose
Chief executive Stuart Rose said free 'bags for life' would be distributed

"But once that's in place, we will then do a trial where we charge 5p per bag and we are determined to do our bit."

It was reported that the trial could then be rolled out to the rest of the UK.

The move comes as part of M&S's drive, called "Plan A", towards ethical trading and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.

The five-year scheme will see M&S become carbon neutral, stop sending waste to landfill and extend its sustainable sourcing by 2012.

Marks and Spencer said it would donate the money raised from the plastic bags trial to the charity Groundwork Northern Ireland.

Use of plastic carrier bags in the Republic of Ireland fell dramatically in 2002 when stores imposed a charge.

M&S's Stuart Rose speaking about the charge

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