IT started out as a single shop in the city of jute and jam, but grew to become a mainstay of the high street in towns and cities across Scotland.

And now Marks and Spencer is marking the 100th anniversary of trading north of the border and serving its first Scottish customers.

A saviour of dinner parties, supplier of school clothes and purveyor of the nation's underwear, today the chain welcomes more than two million Scots every week and employs 6,500 people.

It is a far cry from the early days of the retailers' Scottish adventure during the First World War, when it began trading as the penny bazaar in Dundee's Murraygate in 1918.

East Kilbride Connect:

The original M&S in Dundee

The chain spread to Glasgow in 1919, opening a shop in Argyll Street, followed by branches in Paisley in 1931 and Stirling in 1934.

In 1935 its Sauchiehall Street shop - which remains today - opened, followed by an Aberdeen store in 1944 and a branch in Edinburgh's Princes Street in 1957.

The brainchild of Polish refugee Michael Marks and bookeeper Thomas Spencer, M & S was launched with a single market stall in Kirgate Market, Leeds.

Today, today's Scottish presence stretches to 97 stores, and retains a still-loyal customer base despite the turbulent times affecting many retails chains.

It seems that the public still can't get enough of its party bites, packed sandwiches, skirts, shirts and pre-made Chicken Kievs. 

David Bates, regional director for M&S in Scotland, said: “We are extremely proud that our roots in Scotland date back to the First World War.

"The fact we have lasted 100 years is down to the support of so many Scottish communities, from the amazing people who work for us to our loyal Scottish customers.

"Our uniforms, products and stores may have changed over time but our commitment to Scotland is as firm now as it was a century ago."

East Kilbride Connect:

Glasgow's Argyll Street M&S, 1930

One of the reasons the chain has endured is its deep roots with Scottish, and by extension, British, producers.

It is a little-known fact that Marks and Spencer only stocked British-made goods until the 1990s and has built up a huge network of local suppliers - 40 of them in Scotland working with 4,000 farms.

Mr Bates said: “One example of those long standing relationships is Scotbeef, who we started working with in 1962. At that time they supplied us with canned, cooked and bakery products that soon became customer favourites.

"In 1997, we worked with Scotbeef and specialist beef farmers in Scotland to develop the Select Farm Scheme that enabled us to produce consistently high quality beef and establish a supply chain for beef throughout the UK.

"Since then we have pioneered beef traceability with Scotbeef’s support. We’re the only national retailer in the UK that can trace every single piece of beef it sells right back to the farm and animal – that’s all credit to our great relationships with our suppliers.” 

He added: "We have helped countless Scottish businesses to flourish, including being the first retailer to sell Aberdeen Angus beef.

"This year we became the first high street retailer to stock colour changing gin from The Old Curiosity distillery in Edinburgh."

East Kilbride Connect:

East Kilbride Connect:

M&S, Sauchiehall Street

Like many big chains, marks and Spencer has faced competition from the internet and is in the process of re-adjusting, with 100 of its stores due to close before 2020, including branches in East Kilbride and Falkirk.

Yet shoppers are still ready to welcome new stores with open arms. This week its latest venture in Oban saw queues trailing round the block as locals waited to get their first taste of the new food hall.

 M&S plans to celebrate its Scottish centenary with a four-month tour of five Scottish locations.

The ‘Centenary Taste Trail’ will profile M&S’s partnerships with Scottish businesses while exhibiting never-before-seen archive photography of local communities, specially commissioned by the M&S Archive, along with free food tastings, live music, a demo kitchen and children’s play area.

David Bates added: “We literally serve Scotland at the tills but we also serve Scotland economically through our supply chain. From salmon and crab to beef and vegetables, we have long standing relationships with award-winning farmers across Scotland.”

Pictures: M&S archive