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Hit or miss: Marks & Spencer - 20/30

Per Una hits the spot and Limited offers standout items, but rival Next wins on price.

  • Upper & Lower Mall, The Harlequin

Product - 7

Given the shopping centre’s more mainstream positioning, it made sense for M&S to push its Per Una sub-brand, particularly when the product looks thisgood, including a db red coat, delicate blouse with velvet pleats, subtly printed trousers and pink lace top with pretty crêpe-like sleeves. Even the perennial florals look fresh and edited for autumn. M&S Woman delivers on an abundance of outerwear and knits, while Limited’s matching geometric-print trousers and blazer is bang on trend. Indigo doesn’t appear to change much season on season, while the small Autograph area is a let-down: too much shiny polyester and viscose look cheap, including the green military dress in its ad campaign.

Value - 7

You can’t help but compare M&S’s prices to Next’s just across the way, and the latter is noticeably more competitive – Per Una’s lovely blouses are £29.50 to Next’s £20, while the more attractive knitwear styles among M&S’s sub-brands are around £35, to Next’s £20 to £35. But outerwear is competitive. An orange and grey padded jacket with a fox-print lining looks good for £59, while M&S Woman’s cashmilon knits are just £22.50

Experience - 6

This large store is easy to navigate, with Per Una occupying the largest space. You could miss Autograph, but sadly, you wouldn’t be missing much.


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