Marc Bolland has pledged to improve Marks & Spencer’s store environment – although insisted the density of clothing must remain high.
Speaking this morning about the retailer’s full year results – and revealing further slumps in clothing – Bolland said it was a “step by step approach”, and insisting that the autumn 13 drop in July would not be the turning point in M&S’ fortunes.
Noting that two-thirds of the retailer’s store portfolio had been upgraded, Bolland said he hoped the autumn 13 collection would “land in most of the stores in a better environment”. The spring 14 collection will launch when “probably all stores” had been refitted.
The chief executive acknowledged that there was “a job to be done in merchandising” – an area highlighted by analysts as critical if the new collection is to properly translate to the shopper.
But he insisted M&S needed to retain much of its rail density to continue appealing to all its customers. It has been previously revealed that M&S has more than double the number of items of a given style out at any one time compared with some of its competitors.
“With 21m customers, we will always be asked questions – if we didn’t have density, people would ask why we didn’t have all the sizes out,” he said. “If you were to have no density, people would complain.”
Instead he said it was about “presenting it better”, using mannequins more effectively and using technology, such as in store iPads, to help “direct people to ‘shop your way’.”