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M&S in sales drive to set 'inspirational' tone for customers

Marks & Spencer is advertising its food and clothing together for the first time with a new campaign urging customers to "spend it well".

The campaign will appear on television screens from Thursday under the new catchline that will feature across all the retailer's digital channels and in stores, as well as M&S Bank and its Sparks rewards club.

The ad opens with a baby in a cot and follows women making various choices at different stages of their lives, with M&S hoping it will introduce an "inspirational" tone for the brand with its focus on "attitude and empowerment".

It is narrated by British actor Helen McCrory and set against a new arrangement of David Bowie's Rebel Rebel.

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, executive director of customer, marketing and M&S.com, said: "Our Spend It Well campaign is a radical departure from where we've been previously.

"To remain relevant and attract new customers, we need to get people thinking differently about M&S and recapture our position as a pioneer in culture."

The campaign launch comes a day after the high street stalwart announced it had poached Halfords chief executive Jill McDonald and put her in charge of shoring up its embattled clothing arm.

The move will see Ms McDonald take over the responsibility of running the clothing division from chief executive Steve Rowe, who has remained in charge of the operation since his promotion to the top job in April last year.

M&S was given a boost at the start of the year when like-for-like sales in its clothing and home division rose 2.3% in the 13 weeks to December 31, the first growth since the January to March quarter in 2015.

However, Mr Rowe stressed at the beginning of 2017 there was more work to do in its efforts to revive clothing sales and suggested the quarterly rise may not mark a return to sustained sales growth.

M&S revealed at the end of last month that it was planning to close six stores as part of a review that will impact 380 staff, and last year said it would open 200 new food-only stores and sell clothing and homewares from 60 fewer locations following years of stagnation at its general merchandise division.

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