M&S outlines new store strategy for brands

Marks & Spencer will use 14 pilot stores to test in-store concepts for its revamped sub-brands as it looks to make more of them and turn them into brands in their own right.


M&S has developed new brand identities including logos, colour schemes and brand values for each of its fashion sub-brands and has overhauled the way each brand is communicated in store.

Each fashion brand including Per Una, Autograph, Indigo, Classic, North Coast, Blue Harbour and Collezione, as well as its core M&S Man and Woman ranges and the Conran home brand, will have a dedicated “shop in shop” area in the pilot store so that the in-store environment communicates each brand’s distinctive values.

Each brand has a branded “anchor wall, iconic feature and mannequin style” making M&S’s stores more akin to a department store environment.

M&S has also revamped its visual merchandising and window displays and says it “has to do a better job of showcasing its products before customers even get inside the store”.

The pilot stores are part of a previously announced £600m investment in its store portfolio, as part of Bolland’s overhaul of the retail business.

In food, M&S has revamped the store layout to communicate the “more specialist position” it wants to develop. It has added a full bakery and deli complete with a fresh pasta maker on site and more than 100 “best in class” international brands which will be exclusive to M&S.

It has also refreshed the shelving with wood effect shelf edges to look less like a supermarket and more like a specialist. New packaging will roll out across the food range later this year.

Speaking at the Kensington High Street branch, the first pilot store to open CEO Marc Bolland said: “The Kensington store is a preview of the advancement’s we’re are making in our stores. It’s a clear roadman of how we are addressing the four major issues we faced in November 2010”.

He added: “These are the first ideas, they’re not carved in store so we are trialling and learning from the pilots and will tweak and change the next iteration before rolling it out.”

Steve Sharpe M&S’s marketing director says the pilot stores go hand in hand with the new advertising campaigns starring Ryan Reynolds and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley that M&S unveiled for its Limited Collection, Autograph and Collezione fashion brands last week.

“They are a work in progress and demonstrate the other side of how the brands will look in stores,” he adds.

The other pilot stores are due to open on 13 October and following a review during the Christmas trading period, M&S expects to roll out the design to between 80 and 100 stores by the end of the financial year in March. It hopes to complete the roll out across all its UK stores by mid 2013.

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