Marks & Spencer’s head of kidswear has outlined plans to return the retailer to its former position as number one by value market share in kidswear through improved fashionability, an increased footwear offer and clearer merchandising.
M&S, which grew its kidswear market share by 0.7% to 6.1% during the year to April 3, finished its financial year to the end of March as number four behind Next, George at Asda and Tesco. Research firm Kantar Worldpanel Fashion valued the kidswear market at £2.1bn in the 24 weeks to April 25.
M&S has not held the top spot since 2001 when it held a 6.8% share, but M&S executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose laid out plans to drive share in the category at the time of the retailer’s full-year results in May.
Trading director, kidswear, Karl Doyle said M&S “toggled” between third and fourth positions, usually taking over when schoolwear was on sale. M&S has the largest schoolwear value market share.
He said M&S would change how it merchandised kidswear during the back-to-school season this year, giving more space to fashion product. “A lot of customers come to us for basics and schoolwear but we need them to see the daywear,” he said.
Doyle said more “creative decor” would better differentiate kids’ sub-brands and generate sales from parents shopping corresponding women’s and men’s sub-brands Indigo, Limited and Autograph.
The retailer has injected more detail into its kidswear collections for autumn 10 and introduced fashionable “mini-me” pieces.
It will also grow its kids’ footwear collections for spring 11.
Meanwhile, George at Asda managing director Andrew Moore this week laid out plans to extend its kidswear offer from four to 12-year-olds up to 14-year-olds.
Moore said: “We needed to offer more for teens, but make sure we get the fashionability right. If the launch goes well, we will think about taking the age range up to 16.”