Not only is Caitlin Moran a brilliant read at the best of times but this Saturday, she seems to have pretty well nailed, in my mind, a few of the reasons for the demise of our beloved M&S.
As she says – it should be the exact place to find that perfect white shirt that will wear and wash and wear and wash. It should be our go-to shop for the basics that all of us need somewhere in the wardrobe – the perfect vest (with lace and without), the perfect pants, the cashmere cardi in every colour you might ever need and then, just occasionally, the “wow wear” – like the citrus green/yellow car coat with the black buttons I found for £60 a couple of years ago….dare I say nicer and cheaper even than the Paul Smith version out at the same time.
But somehow that doesn’t seem to be the stores raison d’etre anymore. And if it is, perhaps it’s just because you can’t actually find those items anymore. Not necessarily known for my orienteering skills I certainly find the task of locating what I want a huge challenge in the two M&S stores I visit. Admittedly I am easily confused, but as CM says – with so many different labels yelling at you from different areas of the store the senses go into overload and then that’s it…the only option left is to bolt for the door and go somewhere where the name over the door is the same as the one on the label inside. Where there’s a rail of clothes in corresponding colours, where things come matched together, where black trousers are with the black trousers and white shirts with the white shirts.
I don’t think stores have their own “traditional” shoppers anymore. Shoppers in high street stores like Zara and even Primark go from fifteen to eighty with both able to find something fabulously fabulous if they have the style.
You can also be any age to buy a carton of Super Green soup in the only section that says “soup” in the M&S food store….or yummy mixed grain oats in the section that says “cereals”. But I challenge anyone slightly less beautiful, young or slim to find and then look good in an Alexa Chung inspired frilly blouse.
Perhaps M&S should put their food gurus in to help sales in clothes then we would know where to find things and there might just be something for everyone.
As ever, these are only my “opinions” and I don’t run a huge department store but it’s interesting to have a view….and also, as ever, I look forward to Caitlin’s next serving next Saturday.