It was reported this week that M&S is back in fashion, largely down to its new clothing strategy of stocking rival brands for the first time in the company’s 139 year history. In fact, over £1 in every £10 spent on clothing in the run up to Christmas last year went to Marks & Spencer, according to Kantar data, marking the retailer’s best performance in eight years.*
This comes at a time when rival John Lewis is making job cuts after making a £234m loss last year and M&S is set to overtake John Lewis as the UK’s 7th largest retailer as soon as this year.
Seasalt has pulled its lines from John Lewis in favour of stocking at M&S, reportedly due to the high commissions that John Lewis takes from its third party products. Many brands have strengthened their direct to consumer proposition over the pandemic and so retailers have to work harder to offer value to brands they stock, who can increasingly find ways to engage with consumers themselves through strong digital marketing and social media.
So why is it that some retailers are thriving whilst others are struggling to survive? Next has shown that its first rate technology is at the forefront of its growth plus the similar strategy of stocking an increasing number of rival brands. The store in store model is offering consumers what they want, Next is fast becoming the new go-to department store.
Consumers want choice, convenience, value but ultimately speed. Delivery is free with John Lewis for orders over £50 but you have to wait 5 working days, has Amazon killed our expectation of wanting everything next day? Not to mention the Next's unlimited annual delivery pass for £22.50…
It seems that retailers who listen to their customers, adapt their strategies and invest in their technology are winning.
Hats off to those who are bucking the trend.
The Retail PR Team x
*Source - The Sunday Telegraph 21st May 2023