The founder of homewares retailer Dunelm, Bill Adderley, has been revealed as the biggest private investor in Marks & Spencer.
New stock market filings show Mr Adderley has built a 3pc stake in M&S, worth £244m at Thursday night’s closing share price.
It is understood that the Leicestershire-based tycoon started buying M&S shares last year, but his investment was only disclosed on Thursday after Mr Adderley’s stake crossed the 3pc benchmark.
Mr Adderley’s investment is a vote of confidence in the turnaround plans for M&S being led by Marc Bolland, its chief executive.
M&S is scheduled to post half-year results on Tuesday, which are likely to show another drop in clothing sales but a sharp rise in food revenues.
Mr Adderley and his wife Jean founded Dunelm thirty years ago with a market stall selling home textiles in Leicester. Today the company is the biggest homewares retailer in the UK, with 135 stores branded as Dunelm Mill.
Mr Adderley handed day-to-day control of Dunelm to his son, Will, in 1996. He is no longer on the board but acts as the life president.
The Adderley family still own more than half of Dunelm, despite the fact the company is listed. Earlier this year, Mr Adderley was estimated to be worth £1.1bn.
Shares in M&S spiked on Thursday after Mr Adderley’s investment was revealed. The retailer eventually closed up 10.3, or 2pc, at 503½p.
M&S and Dunelm declined to comment on Mr Adderley’s investment.
The retailer has already increased in value by 30pc this year on the back of takeover rumours and hope in the City that its sales performance will improve.
Earlier this week, the company revealed the details of its Christmas advertising campaign. M&S will next week launch television adverts for its food and clothing range featuring Helena Bonham Carter, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and David Gandy.
Market share data from Kantar suggests M&S is making progress, albeit slowly, in attracting customers to its autumn and winter clothing.
The company’s market share in womenswear fell by 0.2pc in the 24 weeks to the of September, smaller than the 0.5pc drop reported for the prior period.