Kensington High Street witnessed the opening of the first renovated Marks & Spencer store this week, just before the opening of its Stratford City store. The latter, located in Europe’s biggest urban shopping centre, is the first new store to immediately adopt the new M&S style.
Marc Bolland, Marks & Spencer’s CEO since 2009, has been pushing for the restyling operation since his predecessor’s attempt to revamp the “very British” – but according to some also “very boring” – chain was proven unsuccessful.
Individually tailored stores
The Kensington High Street store was the first to be given a completely new interior. Not only the lighting and signposting was new, but the whole concept was redeveloped. In Bolland’s plans, stores will be individually tailored to their location and shoppers’ wishes. The Kensington store includes a new bakery and deli section, while own brands will be prominently featured in the food hall.
In the strategy to make stores easier to navigate through, product labelling will be clearer and product grouping will be more obvious. Each sub-brand will be given a kind of “shop in shop” and the signposting will receive different colours to enhance this effect. Clothing labels too will be differentiated, as the “Marks & Spencer” name disappears from labels – either to give more room to labels like Per Una or Blue Harbour, or to be replaced by the new “M&S Men” and “M&S Woman” labels.
€700 million operation
Marks and Spencer will open twelve more renovated stores in September and October and if successful, the new format will be used in up to 100 other stores by March 2012. At the end of 2013, all 700 UK stores should be revamped, the whole operation costing an estimate £600 million (€700 million).