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Customers benefit from faster response times
UK stores benefit from thirty-fold increase in network capacity


Cable & Wireless, the global telecommunications group and Marks & Spencer,
the international retailer, announced today (5 March 2001) the successful
installation of a Cable & Wireless IP-VPN network (Internet Protocol
virtual private network), producing faster payment times for Marks &
Spencer customers and more efficient communications across the company.

Marks & Spencer is the first UK corporation to benefit from Cable &
Wireless' new internet-based secure quality of service (QoS)-enabled
private network introduced in December last year.

The new network, with a thirty-fold increase in capacity, has allowed
Marks & Spencer to safeguard its business-critical internet technology
(IT) systems and offer leading standards of customer service to the high
street, including faster till throughput and in-store IT operations. The
130-site migration marks the first stage of a 300 plus site company-wide
migration to be completed by the end of Spring 2001.

The stores involved in the first phase of the development report that they
have already experienced a marked improvement in the response times of
customer-facing systems, such as payment processing and customer ordering,
as well as stock ticketing, email and personnel management systems.

"By using Cable & Wireless' cutting-edge technology, we are fulfilling our
ongoing mission to deliver leading standards to the high street," said
Adrian Pratt, Technical Consultant, Marks & Spencer. "Although we had
already increased network capacity on our legacy infrastructure by ten
fold, we recognised early last year that we needed a new network to fully
support the business through Christmas 2000 and into the future.

"After completing a competitive tender process, we chose Cable & Wireless
as they offered the most innovative product design at a cost-effective
price. It is a perfect fit with Marks & Spencer's forward-looking strategy
and supports the dynamics of our business restructuring. The increased
capacity on the new network also means that we will be able to take
advantage of innovative voice and video technology in the near future.

"This high profile project places Cable & Wireless and Marks & Spencer at
the forefront of leading-edge IP-VPN technology," added Ian Fowler,
Director, Commercial Solutions, Client Solutions Division, Cable &
Wireless. "We have worked with Marks & Spencer to develop a tailored IP
networking solution to meet their unique requirements, and the benefits
have been immediate on their sales floor."

"Today's organisations require secure business communications using
networks that can expand in line with the business, and are independent of
geographical location. The Cable & Wireless state-of-the-art IP-VPN is
designed to meet precisely these needs. It provides businesses with
enterprise-class network connectivity for their mission-critical
applications, as well as management of their continuously expanding
network."

Cable & Wireless now offers IP-VPN solutions in 22 countries and expects
to deliver next generation IP-VPN services in 80 countries over the next
12 months. The product is part of the company's product strategy to
deliver uniform IP-based communications solutions across the globe to
business customers.

About Cable & Wireless

Cable & Wireless is a major global telecommunications business with
revenue of over £9 billion (US$14 billion) in the year to 31 March 2000
and customers in 70 countries. Its operations around the world offer a
full range of telecommunications services. Cable & Wireless' focus for
future growth is on IP (Internet protocol) and data services and solutions
for business customers. It is developing advanced IP networks and
value-added services in the US, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region in
support of this strategy. With the capability of its global IP
infrastructure and its strength in key markets, Cable & Wireless holds a
unique position in terms of global coverage and services to business
customers. For more information about Cable & Wireless, go to www.cw.com.


About Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer is an international retailer with 709 locations across 32
countries. The chief market is the UK where the company sells through 297
stores, representing over 12 million square feet of retail footage, and
through mail order and e -commerce operations. In the United States the
company owns the clothing retailer Brooks Brothers and Kings Super
Markets.

The Group is structured into 5 parts: UK Retail, Overseas Retail,
Financial Services, Property and Ventures and employs a total of 75,000
people worldwide. In 1999/2000 Group turnover was £8.2bn and profits
before tax and exceptional items was £557.2m.
http://www.marksandspencer.com


For further information, please contact:

Nicola March, Cable & Wireless

0207 315 4031

nicola.march@cw.com

Henrietta Valder/Sarah Richardson, Brodeur Worldwide

01753 790700

hvalder/srichardson@uk.brodeur.com


Adrian Pratt, Technical Consultant, Marks & Spencer

0207 268 5022

adrian.pratt@marks-and-spencer.com

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Pleon in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.