High street retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) has announced the launch of its latest Autumn/Winter range as it seeks to re-establish its “leading position on quality and style”.
Launching online and in-store in late July, the collection is the first from the retailer’s Style Director Belinda Earl, ex-CEO of Debenhams, Jaeger and Aquascutum, who took up her role following the departure of General Merchandise Executive Director Kate Bostock late last year.
Despite a commitment to overhauling its ranges, sales in the category have continued to disappoint in recent months and M&S’ senior teams have undergone a period of change, with two senior Womenswear Buyers leaving the business earlier this month just weeks after the shock departure of ‘Knicker Queen’ Janie Schaffer.
Executive Director of General Merchandise John Dixon showcased the collection and announced a quality charter aligning ethics with “a confident design ethos” after months of research into customer expectations.
Dixon explained: “Today marks more than just the launch of our Autumn/Winter collection.
“It is the culmination of six months of extensive research that has seen us listen to our customers’ views on our brand and build on our heritage.
“This has reinforced that exceptional quality and confident style should lie at the heart of our clothing proposition and provide the M&S difference that our customers expect from us.
“This is our focus going forward that will reassert our position as a leading, premium fashion retailer.”
M&S will also relaunch its core clothing range by introducing M&S Collection to replace its current M&S Woman offer, while it will also encompass the transitioned Limited Edition collection which will have a greater focus on trend-led and wearable designs.
Ranges will be updated fortnightly and the retailer is hoping to provide a clearer and more compelling sub-brand offering with Per Una, Autograph and Indigo being positioned to emphasise their points of difference.
Director of Womenswear at M&S Frances Russell said: “We’ve injected some love back in to our brands and focused on their brand signatures to ensure that every product in each of our collections has been designed specifically with our customers in mind.
“This product focus, coupled with a clearly signposted, compelling collection of brands helps to make choosing amazing outfits that are perfect for every occasion even easier for our customers.”
M&S has edited its ranges, reducing the number of product lines by 10 per cent and has also unveiled its ‘Best of British’ offering in collaboration with the British Fashion Council, which will launch in October.
M&S CEO Marc Bolland explained the importance of the new approach as the retailer concentrates on improving trading, commenting: “I’m really enjoying working with the new team and I am confident that we are taking a step in the right direction by focusing on quality and style.”