As most of you won’t know, my main job for the last 18 months has been at the large Marks and Spencer store in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. My current employment situation is not one I particularly relish as a mere 20hrs a week doing 6am-10am is by no means fun or well paying, and with any luck I will be able to get a job which utilizes my degree (or brain) relllllatively soon.
So much has been written about the failure of M&S in recent years to react appropriately to the market and deliver the products and prices which customers have been demanding, and working for the company I end up conflicted as to how I should feel about their performance and perception on the high street. I have to state now that I do fundamentally believe that M&S plays a massively important part in the retail sector, and the constant battering it gets in the press is often unfounded and over the top. For those who are not from the UK and are unfamiliar with the company, basically it offers customers a wide range of clothes, home and beauty products as well as premium food and now financial services. It is generally accepted that the food hall is at the top end of the market, and whilst expensive the produce is of high quality and retains a good image among customers of all ages. The problem emerges when you look at the clothes side of the business, where M&S’s traditional market of middle-class, middle-aged women has diversified to the point where the company has taken to trying to be all things to all people and spread itself too thinly.
In some ways this is correct, with the womenswear section offering some questionable choices in a vain attempt to remain trendy, however in the menswear section (which I am more familiar with) the opposite seems to have happened with there being no real distinction in what is offered apart from price-I understand that the £12.50 black trousers differ greatly from the £49.50 pair and attract different customers, but is there really a need for 10 pairs in-between these 2 price points?!
I think that if the company really wants to try and win back some of its traditional market (and attract some fresh blood too) it needs to stop chasing the disposable fashion market and focus on offering classic wardrobe staples at relatively affordable prices alongside modern but not garish style-orientated ‘brands’, oh and also they need to stop the constant sales which make the stores look scruffy and devalues the brand.
This is unlikely to be the last Marks and Spencer post I make, and I’m aware it’s pretty dull stuff but for obvious reasons I feel a little attached to the company…however poorly they treat me