Marks & Spencer is ramping up its premium Per Una Speziale collection, in the same week that Per Una founder George Davies launched his upmarket womenswear concept GIVe.
M&S denied that the increased focus on the premium range, which first debuted two years ago, was in reaction to the launch of Davies’ GIVe concept, but said it would feature higher prices and better-quality fabrics, and it would be made in Italy – all traits of the GIVe offer.
The range will go into 11 stores and features 36 styles, which are bought in “limited edition” quantities of 200. Dresses will retail for between £69.50 and £175, and key pieces include a dress with an asymmetric sleeve and peplum detail and a “feather” jacket created using torn silk strips.
Per Una Speziale was designed by Italian designers Lorella Signorino and Cinzia de Rosa, who also design for womenswear brands Love Sex Money and Vivi.
At the opposite end of the price spectrum, M&S said that its casualwear sub-brand Indigo, which is aimed at the 30-plus market, had sold more than 300,000 pieces since it debuted in 100 stores on September 2. M&S chairman Sir Stuart Rose declined to give a comparative figure, but said: “That’s a lot of garments.”
Singer analyst Matthew McEachran said Indigo’s start was encouraging and that M&S’s clothing’s performance was benefiting from improved segmentation and in-store adjacencies.
Separately, Rose played down the chances of a repeat of last year’s heavy Christmas promotions, when M&S ran discount weekends to draw in shoppers unnerved by the collapse of bank Lehman Brothers. “Last year was an exceptional reaction to exceptional events,” he said.
M&S Q2 at a glance
- Group sales +2.7%
- UK sales +1.9%:
- Clothing sales +2.7%
- General merchandise (including clothing) like-for-like sales -0.8%