M&S – the next Woolworths?

Posted by Morgan on 6th Mar 2013

Over the past year or so I have noticed that shoppers at our centres rarely request that we try and attract M&S to their town, they typically request Primark, John Lewis, Debenhams but never M&S. Whereas M&S were previously the retailer everyone wanted to see and visit.

I am not an M&S shopper so I had not realised why. But as Mother’s Day is coming up and I am a dutiful son, I thought I would get something nice for my Mam. Being a lady of a ceryain age - she is an M&S fan.

M&S online – I know I should support the high street but it would allow me to get it delivered direct. Well, technically, if I am happy to get it delivered closer to April than to today. I know my Mother lives in Wales but it’s not that far away...

Undeterred, I headed to the M&S ‘flagship’ at Marble Arch. Although some where on the way I must have got lost. I departed the leading global retailers of Oxford Street and arrived in a Bucharest department store c. 1989.

The building is in desperate need of a refurbishment. The merchandising is terrible. The staffs were non-existent; I recalled customer service was the big thing at M&S? Then when a brightly clad green lady finally arrived, (who in the world designed the uniform - the staff must hate them), she had to walk to the sixth floor to check the stock room for an item. It took 15 minutes as the staff lift was out of order.

On top of that it was hardly cheap. I hope my Mother likes the gift as I really don’t want to have to visit again to take it back.

How can they hope to compete stood next to Selfridges and opposite Primark? Even in smaller towns and on-line the competition is fierce and it appears M&S failing to step up to the mark.

But, hey its M&S, they could never fail it’s a UK institution, part of our culture. I seem to recall it was not that long ago people said the same about Woolworths…

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