WATCH: Your views on what's gone wrong with M&S
PUBLISHED: 15:21 18 January 2019
The grand dame of the British high street is battling store closures after a drop in sales. We asked you for your views on whether the spark has gone out of Marks?
Sales are down in its food, clothes and home sections and some stores are even closing.
No stores in Norfolk are currently at risk but with retail flagging and other big names leaving our high streets, is M&S’s days as top dog numbered?
The bad news came after a bid by M&S to appeal to the more average shopper with an advertising campaign featuring cheaper foods rather than luxury items over the festive period – but sales dropped by 2.4% up to Christmas.
Store closures were announced as part of a major restructuring programme aiming to make cost reductions of £350 million by 2021.
Even though popular television presenter Holly Willoughby has been promoting their ‘must have’ latest women’s fashions, the famous store cannot beat off competition from online giants like Boohoo.com
So, what’s gone wrong? This newspaper asked Norwich shoppers what they thought.
Pensioner Joan Garrod said: “Marks & Spencer aren’t trendy or attractive enough for the younger woman and what used to be the core market, the older women looking for smart casual clothes, they don’t seem to cater for us at all now.”
Vince Pearson said: “We tend to use it for occasional items ... I think the Norwich branch is a bit small, it does get a bit cluttered but the product range gives me what I want.”
Rosaria Cappuccio said: “I think it is quite expensive but the quality is fantastic.
M&S chief executive Steve Rowe recently said the restructuring meant “rebuilding the foundations of the future M&S”, adding that every “aspect of our ranges, how we trade, our supply chain and marketing is undergoing scrutiny and change”.
Business writer Caroline Culot went into the Norwich store to see if she could find an outfit to ensure she dazzled in the newsroom.
“The problem is there is too much stock, there are two entire floors dedicated to women’s wear – but so much of it is the same, racks of baggy t-shirts and shapeless baggy trousers that few people are going to look good in.
“Whereas M&S used to be synonymous with style and quality for an affordable price, I think, although there are some examples of this, too many items are made with a cheap looking material. There are some pin-striped dresses which are ideal for work though for under £40 and a shoe sale on – I loved some leopard print high heels which were an absolute bargain for £13.”