It was recently reported that the definitive British high street stalwart, Marks and Spencer is experiencing its worst sales figures in the last three years, falling an unnerving 2.8% compared to 2011. So where has good old Marks and Sparks been going wrong?
Maybe old is the operative word? Although M&S have acknowledged many different factors contributing to this latest disappointment – such as poor buying choices and this terrible weather we have all been suffering through lately – could they be missing something?
I conducted my own mini survey this week in light of these revelations where I asked around ten of my closest girlfriends – ranging from their early to late twenties – about their personal opinions on Marks and Spark’s women’s clothing. The general consensus was that it’s a shop for older women where collections can sometimes border on frumpy but you can be lucky on the odd occasion.
Marks and Spencer has been celebrated for its ability to appeal to different generations which is true, up to a point. During a recent trip there with my sixty-something (although she claims fifty-something) mother I realised that once she had successfully satisfied my Grandmother’s comfy beige slacks fix, she, true to form, began to peruse the Per Una aisles. Whereas the only fix I was looking to satisfy was that of a Percy Pig persuasion.
In a bid to appeal to a younger generation of shoppers by featuring various glamourous celebrities and models including Myleene Klass and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in their ad campaigns, is there a chance team M and S have maybe taken their eye off the ball somewhat when it comes to their staple demographic? This tends to be around forty-plus (thirty-five plus at a push) but realistically – and having recently glanced around there myself – it’s probably closer to the fifty-plus bracket. I must admit, I do find it hard to believe that the likes of Rosie, another twenty-something like myself, would shop there off her own bat.
It would be a great shame to lose this British institution but hopefully it will never come to this and the company reports it is doing really well in other areas. Although we are evidently not all rushing out to stock up on their latest summer fashions, Marks and Spencer has become indispensable for plenty of other reasons – from their underwear to home furnishings, and of course their food, even for work clothes sometimes. Could this be a case of a business spreading itself too thinly in a bid to stay afloat during these (here comes that horrendously overused phrase again) troubled financial times? Should they concentrate on upping their design game for the older generation?