British retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has reduced the number of styles in its autumn womenswer clothing collection by 20% this season, in a move that will likely be adopted by all retailers in order to adapt to a changing world.
M&S has bought in more of what they know will sell – stylish and timeless wardrobe staples – and reassessed their core product offering to ensure that they focus on pieces that give customers quality and value for money.
Jill Stanton, director of womenswear, kidswear and beauty at M&S, said: “This season we’ve focused on making our stores easier to shop at. We’ve got 20 per cent fewer products than we had before and we’ve removed the duplication and the slow-selling lines that we’ve had in the past.
“We are focusing on winning lines and hero departments, the parts of our business that we are famous for. We want the customer to have more confidence that we will have what they want and that it will be easy to find and impossible to miss.”
The streamlining of its womenswear collection is in line with M&S’s “Never The Same Again priorities” – referring to the company’s new directive, announced earlier this year, which places emphasis on perfecting the timeless, quality wardrobe staples which M&S should be able to guarantee will sell well.
Stepping away from so called “fashion trends” and bringing clothing back to its everyday functionality is what will assist retailers in future-proofing their businesses, and enable them to operate successfully as sustainable businesses in respect of the environment, while also providing customers with what they want and will use.
Jill Stanton said that backing bestsellers was an important part of M&S’ strategy – buying more of their £15 high-waisted jeggings, of which a pair is sold every minute in the UK, as well as their quality super-soft Cashmilon jumpers, of which 1.5 million are sold each year. Going into autumn, they’ve upped that offering to include 12 colour and pattern styles, in sizes 6-24, all priced at £15.
In the lingerie and loungewear departments, a particular soft Flexi Fit crop top which sold 59,000 units between April and June, after launching in March, has been invested in again for autumn, as have sports bra styles and the successful GOODMOVE activewear line.
All of these changes were planned before the pandemic, but sit well with the current retail climate and future also.
Jill Stanton added: “We are focusing on making fewer, better things. It’s just the beginning of how we intend to emerge as a renewed and stronger clothing business.”
Image Soure: Marks and Spencer
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.