Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Oh bless M&S

What do I say? I told you so is no good and no help. I wrote a blog post on M&S Womenswear ages ago when Bolland was appointed Chief Executive and I'm too goddam lazy to find it. Basically I can't face shifting through 6 years of blog posts. But your profits are down (again) most notably in Womenswear.



In essence my views haven't changed and I vaguely remember the points I made so here is my M&S overhaul proclamation part deux.
1. Get rid of Per Una now. I feel there is no need to justify this comment.
2. I would keep Autograph and Limited Collection they are good and can be built on think of them as your Topshop Boutique and Topshop Unique. Stop thinking of Autograph as competition for MaxMara Weekend. Starting thinking of it as cutting edge quality style with a fashion emphasis (see image above). Limited Collection is your bona fide nod to all things fashion.
3. Sort your merchandising out - when there is a run on something get more in and out on the shelves. Biscuit tins or shoes I care not but fulfil demand. Create waiting lists, anything that is a nod to demand and an attempt to satisfy it.
4. Stop playing music in stores. You cannot get it right to suit a broad spectrum of the population - desist at once it is annoying. Be leaders in this field of pointless noise pollution. M&S should be an oasis of calm, a place of serenity that we can pop into for soothing our souls.
5. Start delivering your food.
6. Stop those ads they are now nauseating it is time for a change. The last one was a step too far. We are in hard times and to see people flaunting their fabulousness in an egg and spoon race was a tipping point.
7. Other than Autograph and Limited Collection do not have any other collection titles just apparel in useful categories like jumpers, skirts, trousers and dresses well merchandised within the store. I think it is time for a return to those days of jumpers folded up on stands. An injection of the old would provide a focal point to clarify the heritage of M&S.
8. Relevance - find the relevance again not just when we carried away by biscuit tin appraisal in Grazia or your new A/W moody clothes shots, which I love btw. The relevance to me or to the other person and their needs. To the 20,30,40,50,60 and over person. How do you intend to deal with the fact we are more likely to be shopping for items in Zara than M&S when we are 70 and no Mary Portas is not the answer. She has a very good point but the spectrum is a broad one. There is a disconnect between what you do/offer and how. Those wonderful brooding new images will not be born out in store because the merchandising won't be that good and when the stock comes in won't be known by staff/customer services.
9. Why can't you have wardrobe staples that are executed in a way they are staples within the store for a 5 year period. The white shirt, the navy crew jumper, the white/grey/black t-shirt in crew and v neck options - you know what I mean. A focal point of mediocrity in one sense but a much needed certainty for a woman's wardrobe in another.
10. The changing rooms - they are dire. Both you and John Lewis have the worst changing room systems and spaces. Not an easy one to fix I know but it is to do with the store layout and I'm no expert but they need sorting, that deep red colour is too gloomy for starters.

Limited Collection Dress £49.50 Leather Gloves £39.50 Belt £25 Bracelet £12.50 Earrings £12.50 

[Image at top: Autograph Coat £129 Autograph Top £49.50 Autograph Skirt £29.50]

14 comments:

  1. I completely agree with your views. It is one of those stores I have to force or remind myself to go to these days and I can be pleasantly surprised but more often it is an irritating experience. Still love the food, all the naughty ones.

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  2. Goodness you are right! I used to get all my staples from M&S, knickers, jumpers, even every day office suits. Now I occasionally go in, thinking, 'Oh, I'd forgotten about this store.' And the different lines are so confusing. Besides, Per Una means 'Potato' in Finnish. A good a reason as any to get rid of it!

    Helena xx

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    1. Haha it is a 'potato' of an offering!!

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  3. It used to be the yardstick for me and my family and I got most everything (every department they have) from there for almost 3 decades. Until the last 2 years we never needed to complain but in the last couple of years I have had to complain a handful of times about different things and the results were so totally unsatisfactory to me that I stopped buying anything from them, not even one potato!
    And I don't miss it one bit.
    The worst thing for me is the steep drop in quality of their clothing let alone 'style'.
    M&S is a dirty word in our household now.
    OK rant over! :-)

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    1. You see that is the shame of it. And I know why because they have lost touch with the customer and are obsessed with their internal processes which aren't delivering what we want. xx

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  4. Hear hear to your comments! I really hope someone in M&S is listening.

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  5. I could not agree with points 5 and 6 more! Although the adverts are visually stunning they make me bloody depressed. The Christmas one in the Manor house (surrounded by snow?? They know we live in England right?!) and the recent Summer one in particular make me feel like my life is severely lacking. Why can't I wear amazing clothes in my huge garden whilst we all eat amazing food, have Gary Barlow sing to us and have egg and spoon races?? Urgh!
    And I love the food but it's always so damn busy and I can't carry much, delivery would be wonderful.
    xx

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  6. You really need to get this to the "top" somehow. Everything you say is spot on and you know exactly what we all do with a hot potato - drop it!

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    1. My 'wisdom' is bound to be ignored. Why I am but a mere MA graduate from the LCF with years and years of experience, Oh and was a manager of a mutli million brand but I'm not a name just a freelance nobody these days!! xx

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  7. Agree agree. Feels like shopping in a barn. Create spaces to suit the customer who wants those clothes with a seamless join. Also way overpriced in most sections when you consider it will be half price and in a pile within 2 months. The only time I like buying M&S is in Oxfam.

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    1. There is too much stock. They need to control merchandising better and implement a better re-stock system.

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  8. 11) Sort your frickin horrific website out! I see things styled in magazines, and when I go to the site to purchase them I back out. Every. Time.

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    1. Good point - I forgot how dreadful it is - the models they use and how it is style is pants.

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  9. How totally true, and gracious of you to offer them your advice for free! They should sit up and take notice, I can't remember the last time I bought anything in there, I keep drifting in and scurrying out it's such a rubbish experience, completely overwhelming and full of items that are only ever destined for the sale.

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Thank you for commenting, much appreciated. Sorry about no longer offering anonymous comments but spamming had become a very annoying issue. xxx