Marks and Spencer has launched a strategic partnership with Microsoft to transform the retail experience using the “power of AI”, with the technology to be tested into its customer experience, stores and wider operations.

In a statement, the British retailer said that the two organisations would “work together to explore how technologies such as artificial intelligence can be utilised within the retail environment to improve customer experience and optimise operations”.

The move is part of Marks and Spencer’s goal to become a “Digital First” retailer, part of its business-wide transformation programme, and will see a team of world-class AI engineers and product personnel from Microsoft partnering with the Marks and Spencer Retail Labs team “to accelerate the retailer’s digital transformation”.

Steve Rowe, Marks and Spencer chief executive, said in a press release: “Marks and Spencer is transforming into a Digital First retailer, at a time when the sector is undergoing a customer-led revolution. We want to be at the forefront of driving value into the customer experience using the power of technology.

“Working together with Microsoft to understand the full potential of how technology and artificial intelligence can improve the in-store experience for our customers and the efficiencies of our wider operations could be a game changer for Marks and Spencer – and for retail.”

Cindy Rose, Microsoft UK chief executive, added: “We firmly believe that AI has the power to amplify human ingenuity. The retail sector is one of the most challenging landscapes in the UK right now and we are thrilled to be working with Marks and Spencer to explore how AI can help such an iconic brand transform the customer experience and improve wider operations.”