Why Customers Aren't Wearing M&S Revamps

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 5:33 PM

M&S should concentrate on simplifying its ranges and their appeal to the customer, Sky's Dharshini David writes.

Why Customers Aren't Wearing M&S Revamps

According to fashionista Alexa Chung, M&south is synonymous with "British fashion and social history".

That sense of nostalgia, which led Ms with the retailer, may be shared by new CEO Steve Rowe, who started his career aged fifteen in a London store.

So many will share his assessment that M&S’s current performance is .

A fall in sales of 2.7 percent is all too familiar; in the latest five years quarterly sales have risen just once.

M&south has accused it on the weather, revamped the website, discounted prices, not discounted prices, streamlined ranges, brought in fresh designers, courted the fashion press... But ultimately, customers aren’t wearing it.

Where does Mister Rowe start?  His predecessors have included management consultants and grocers, so as a lifelong retailer (and son of a former M&south director) he's a head start.

He’s maintaining direct control of common merchandise, including fashion, and will unveil his strategy in May.

Already though, he’s revealed the average price of its spring collection is lower than a year ago and that M&S is improving ranges.

Mister Rowe is a fan of simplicity, which may be number horrible thing; several dozen lines of women’s black trousers may not give customers choice so much as confusing and overwhelming them.

Ultimately,  it comes down to stocking the right product - attire that are affordable, high quality, practical and appealing to core customers (Ms Average Briton is just  5ft 3in and dress size sixteen).

Latest year, a senior M&south executive showed me a 'standout' of their latest collection -  a beautifully slice suede trenchcoat, for many hundreds of pounds.

In the genuine world, many will baulk at the price and the inability of a suede coat to withstand rain or the sticky fingers of small children.

The average shopper, analysts say, needs to be hooked in the ninety seconds spent crossing the M&south shop floor on their way to the sandwich display.

Will the range "curated" by willowy model Alexa Chung tick that box?

Giving women, or any customer, what they want, as Mister Rowe knows, isn’t easy.

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