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Better best focus at M&S

Marks & Spencer will launch Autograph Essentials this autumn into 120 stores.

The 25-piece range includes three trouser styles, a little black dress and a pencil skirt. The colour palette will be predominantly black and white and the collection will be refreshed every six to eight weeks.

The move comes as M&S looks to build on the success of its Limited Collection and Autograph ranges, which are core to the better and best offer which chief executive Sir Stuart Rose is looking to drive to achieve better margins in the next financial year.

Executive director of clothing Kate Bostock told Drapers: “Our customer will pay more for quality if she can see the extra value in a garment. She will trade up if she knows that what she buys is not in every store and there are a limited number produced. We have seen that with Autograph Exclusives. We intend to widen the amount of exclusives in different product areas. Autograph performs well across women’s, men’s and kids’. The brand can stretch further.”

M&S’s pre-tax profits for the year to March 29 rose 3.8% to £1 billion, excluding one-off gains. Total sales rose 5.1% to £9bn. M&S will cut £50m of costs this year by reducing marketing by 5% to 10% of its spending and tightening distribution costs.

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