Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

M&S must emulate White City store to rally fashion sales

All eyes have been firmly placed on Marks & Spencer this week as the retailer unveiled its interim results, but can the retailer’s revamped Westfield London residence open the door to rising sales?  

Group sales were up by 1% to £4.9bn, underlying profit before tax increased by 2.3% to £268m and EBITDA for the half was up £37.7m to £578.8m. So far, so good.

However the all-important fashion sales at M&S are still failing to impress. For the second quarter clothing sales dropped by 3.4%, meaning fashion sales have declined for 14 consecutive quarters at the retailer.

Bolland and his team stressed womenswear was on the up, dampened only by the warm weather in September. But taking the full six months into consideration the category was down by 0.8%.  

In order to fast-forward this essential turnaround, M&S must put its trend-led products in front of consumers in a way that’s easy to shop and helps them to pull outfits together.

The retailer isn’t traditionally known for its inspiring store fits, but the unveiling of its new Westfield London store fit in White City may spell a seed change for the business.

Spacious isles, fashion-led product, better visual merchandising, more mannequins, iPads, more in-store services including a nail bar and a men’s made-to-measure shop-in-shop and clearly segmented sub-brands (and ages on kidswear) indicate M&S is taking a step in the right direction as the store allows shoppers to view the product, and the retailer, in a different light.  

However, one shop does not a turnaround make. The extended Westfield store is the perfect showroom for M&S to display its ambitious store fit, but Bolland has a challenge on his hands to translate this undeniably impressive store into smaller, older shop units in less glamorous locations across the UK.

It’s all well and good having a pristine environment packed with the crème de la crème of the autumn 14 range in west London, but if Jane Bloggs can’t access the same experience on her local high street it won’t translate into sales.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Is it not premature to suggest that the new White City layout will be a success?

    The Christmas period will provide guidance.

    Hopefully it will be a success for fashion.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.