M&S kidswear offer gets an overhaul
The UK’s biggest clothing retailer admitted on Thursday that its kidswear collections were too formal as it unveiled a new direction for the department.
In a bid to grow market share in kidswear, Marks & Spencer announced a series of steps including removing the Autograph sub-brand. It said the changes will broaden the range’s appeal to busy family customers.
“M&S Kids is changing to broaden its appeal. We know we have parents shopping schoolwear, with 1 in 4 kids wearing an M&S uniform, but our wider Kids offer has been a bit too formal and not for everyday fun,” said Jill Stanton, director of kidswear at Mark & Spencer.
So what is the company doing to make its children's department more attractive? The Autograph sub-brand has been eliminated, as mentioned, as it focused on a more formal style of product, although the label will continue to be sold within menswear and womenswear. In fact, the number of ‘special occasion’ styles has been halved, and will only be available in bigger stores and online.
In parallel, casualwear options have been “substantially” increased, particularly in terms of T-shirts, sweatshirts and leggings. M&S said leggings are performing particularly well, with over 25,000 pairs sold every month.
Affordability and convenience are key parts of the new direction. The retailer introduced more 3-for-2 deals, increasing items in the offer from 60 to nearly 200. Products start from as little as £2.50 for cotton leggings with stretch.
Finally, shoppers will have an easier time finding the right products for their families thanks to a more tailored offer: the range has been split into three categories, baby (0-3 years), younger (2-7 years) and older (6-16 years).
“Our new range is about being more playful - with fun prints, vibrant colours and the hard-wearing features that make them fit for play time and fit to last. Customers have been noticing the value of the 3-for-2 – but more importantly that it’s still the same M&S quality they know,” Stanton said.
The changes are part of a wider transformation being implemented by the department store chain in a bid to modernise its image. In October, the M&S menswear range was overhauled with a stronger focus on fit, and earlier this month the brand introduced a new women’s activewear range, Goodmove.
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