// Marks & Spencer reveals latest reopening plans
// Around two thirds of customers are “looking forward” to dressing up
// Online demand for dresses has steadily grown since the end of February
Marks & Spencer has become the latest major retailer to outline its reopening plans as non-essential retailers in England and Wales prepare for reopening from Monday.
The retailer said that around two thirds of customers are “looking forward” to dressing up in smarter or more stylish clothes than they have worn in lockdown.
Online demand for dresses has steadily grown since the end of February and last week M&S saw search increases for sandals & sunglasses, with its “new in” womenswear page now the most visited on M&S.com.
- M&S to reopen with contact-free bra fitting
- John Lewis, Ikea, Primark unveil store reopening plans
- Boris Johnson confirms: non-essential retail in England can reopen April 12
M&S’s “Bring On” campaign will put a spotlight on the products customers are searching for online as social events start to return and the summer season kicks off – from relaxed tailoring in soft fabrics perfect for outdoor gatherings, to denim staples. The campaign will extend across M&S Food.
“We know lots of customers are excited about dressing up for picnics and alfresco dining with friends & family and our stores will be bursting with tiered dresses, pretty tops and new seasonal denim,” M&S head of clothing and home for retail Alison Grainger said.
“Whilst it’s no longer all just about loungewear, as you would expect we’re going to be dedicating more space to casualwear in our shops than pre-pandemic.
“In store customers will also see wardrobe essentials redefined – with relaxed t-shirts and sweats which have now become mainstays updated in fresh, vibrant colours.
“Optimistic slogan tops have been popular online, and I think lots of customers will pick these up when they visit us in store.”
Meanwhile, M&S will allow customers at 250 stores which sell lingerie to choose from a contact-free bra fit from its expert colleagues, or a virtual at home appointment with an M&S expert via video.
M&S is offering click-and-collect with an 8pm cut off for free next day pick up at over 800 stores.
The retailer is also trialling new innovations like Express Collection and Digital Check-In at around twenty stores to make collecting orders even easier for customers.
Nearly 100 M&S cafes will be open for takeaway, with 14 also open for ‘dine-out’ in dedicated outdoor seating areas.
In the last year, M&S has seen a 200 per cent increase in downloads of its App and over one million transactions via its Mobile Pay Go digital shopping option – having rolled out from a small trial to all foodhalls in 2020.
M&S said it was rebranding MPG and bringing together all of its digital store shopping options together under the Scan and Shop banner.
Additionally, M&S is expanding its popular on-the-spot payment service Pay With Me – introduced in the run up to Christmas to help bust queues at 200 of its busiest foodhalls – to 50 of its top lingerie stores.
M&S is also set boost its rewards system, with every M&S store set to reward one Sparks customer with their entire shopping for free.
Running for a limited two weeks from April 12, the campaign comes as M&S recently hit its 10 millionth Sparks customer, with over 2.5 million new customers joining since it relaunched in July last year.
“The last year has accelerated many of the trends and shopping patterns we were seeing pre-crisis, and we have responded as part of our Never the Same Again transformation programme to build a shopping experience that’s fit for the future and one that enables customers to shop the way they want,” M&S retail drector Sacha Berendji said.
“As we start to reopen our Clothing & Home space, we’ve pulled out all the stops to deliver the stylish, relevant products our customers are searching for, and help deliver a more flexible, easier and rewarding shopping experience for our customers so that they have everything they need to be ready to bring on the summer.”