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Marks & Spencer unveils its second largest store

Marks & Spencer has today revealed a plethora of new innovations as it launched its second biggest store, in Cheshire Oaks.

The 151,000 sq ft store has been almost two years in the making and showcases all of the initiatives, particularly digital ones, on which the retailer is pinning its hopes for the future.

The two-floor shop, the second largest in the estate after its flagship Marble Arch store in London, features a cathedral-like curving wooden roof.

Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland said: “It is not about building a huge store, it’s about building a shopping experience.”

Among a raft of new elements, the store has six ‘Browse & Order’ points, where shoppers can select from items not stocked in the store. These are intended to be discrete from the click-and-collect area, which has its own counter and is, said Bolland, a “less emotional” part of the shopping journey.

There is also a team of iPad-equipped assistants, ready to help shoppers with the selection process.

Laura Wade-Gery, executive director multichannel and ecommerce, said many of the store’s digital elements would work well in smaller stores where it would not be possible to present an offer on the scale of Cheshire Oaks.

Bolland noted: “Customers told us [two years ago] that M&S needs to improve. This store answers the questions that have been asked better than anything else.”

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