Marks & Spencer are hoping that tailoring new formats in stores to the needs of the local customers will encourage more shoppers through their doors. The trading environment is extremely tough at the minute and M&S are looking to build on their 13% rise in their full year profit figures. As well as being the biggest clothing retailer in the UK, they sell home wares and up-market food products.
They announced on Tuesday that the new store formats will be selling products against a five point criteria to fit the locality- affluence, competition, demographics, ethnicity and regionality. The general layout of the stores will also be greatly improved and new signs will showcase the M&S sub-brands to better effect than at present. Large M&S stores have been said in the past to be ‘confusing’, and these measures look to address this.
The CE, Marc Bolland, has told reporters that customer feedback had told them that their stores could be difficult to shop in. He said that these new ‘tester’ stores, part of an overall growth plan which they revealed in November, would begin trading in October. Most of Britain’s retailers are currently struggling as consumers are being hit by soaring costs across the board. Soaring Cotton prices are greatly affecting clothing retailers.
M&S has said that even though it has made a good start to this new financial year, it was expecting the trading conditions in the coming year to be very challenging. These comments echo previous concerns voiced by their competitors. Bolland said that the consumers were aware of the difficulties they would be facing in the coming months and that they were going to have to make some tough choices.