Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The spark into Marks & Spencer

Marks and Spencer; good old M&S. I confess up front that I do like M&S, as distinctly uncool as that is! I want it to do well – but I always feel like it lets me down a bit; it disappoints me.

I went in there today to look for a birthday present for my mum and while I did come out with something (I won’t say what in case she is reading!), I came away once again feeling bemused by the experience. It’s not as if it’s an absolute dump of a store (although some of the M&S’s in slightly less salubrious locations than Oxford Street could go under the description ‘dump’!) and it’s not as if it’s only filled with hideous clothes. There are some absolute gems in there...but my god do they make you work for them!

Finding anything in M&S amongst the mountains of clothes they stock is difficult anyway – they really need to discover the concept of ‘space’ in a retail experience. Wrestling amongst packed rails of clothes is not a pleasant experience...which is also ironic when you face the inevitable challenge of any M&S shopping experience...finding anything in your size! Never has a store seemingly gone to so many lengths to get their stock so completely wrong. It’s like panning for gold trying to go in M&S and come up with an item in the size you need!

I did say that I wanted this blog to be positive and about what I like in fashion...and I know this is sounding a lot like a moan! I do have massive gripes about M&S and their ongoing inability to get on top of their fashion difficulties and find it even more disappointing because they do stock some lovely, lovely items of clothing, accessorises and underwear. They have great collaborations, such as the underwear collection with Collette Dinnigan (see photos below). But if they really want to extend their reach into the ‘middle youth’ market, they need a serious rethink.

I only have to go a few minutes walk away to somewhere like Oasis to see what they’re up against. Gorgeous clothes, presented in an appealing, spacious environment, with a mixture of clothes, organised around different looks and with all sizes available...and on the right hangers! I enjoy wandering around Oasis and don’t really think the price points are so much more than M&S that it can use garment costs as an excuse. I think that Oasis just understand their market, listen to their customers and are more creative in what they do. M&S are perpetually playing catch-up.

So a lot of whinging...but because it does have good stuff and gets mocked. When I tell my other half that I’ve been looking around M&S he says ‘that’s not a shop for you’. Which is a shame...because these are some of the gorgeous things that were in store today and lots of women would never know because they’ve been put off going into M&S. A shame.

Limited Collection slash neck dress - £49.50 (linen and silk)

Limited Collection plaited jersey maxi-dress - £32

Henley neck empire line stud dress - £45

Limited Collection panel pump shoes - £19.50

Twin buckle block sandals - £39.50

Indigo Collection stud overnight bag - £49.50

Indigo Collection button through skirt - £25

Collette by Collette Dinnigan silk rich floral padded balcony bra & low rise shorts - £19.50 for bra and £12 for shorts

Collette by Collette Dinnigan spot padded balcony bra & knickers - £22.50 & £12


  1. I tend to look and order M&S stuff online so I don't have to experience the appauling shop layout or getting annoyed at not finding my size... a lot of their clothes, shoes and accessories are actually quite nice. I also have a similar problem with Next and Debenhams (especially around the sales times) - shopping online is the way forwards.

    And as for shops who insists on putting all their sales items onto extra large clothes rails with no order (either by size, colour or item) I just walk straight back out - I do not have the patience to trawl through.

    Loving the blog - stripes rock!!

  2. It's amazing that so many shops get it wrong. I've just ended up buying the Clarks shoes I was lusting after last week online. I went to THREE Clarks stores, two on Regent Street, one on Oxford Street, none of them had them in my size (admittedly they're in the sale but they had huge numbers of size 5)...some were even still marking them as £39.99, when they're down to £29.99! So I came home, bought them online and they're delivering them for free next week!

    What is the high street playing at...surely they should also be focusing on their shop experience as much as online?!

    With the big stores like M&S, Debenhams etc, I'm definitely moving towards just dealing with them online!


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