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M&S stores are closing because it doesn't know who its audience is

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Last week it was announced that M&S would be closing 30 of their homeware and clothing stores.

At first the news surprised me. M&S clothing has always seemed a definitive thing, but then again, BHS completely closing down was never something I would have thought would happen either.

Although M&S food has always been popular, their clothing is synonymous with being hit and miss.

That being said, M&S have had their fair share of sell-out items. In particular, the mid-length brown suede skirt comes to mind. This item became ridiculously popular after it was worn by fashion icon Alexa Chung. It ended up with a waiting list which, according to the Mirror, had 3,500 names at one point.

M&S Suede A-Line Skirt. marksandspencer.comAlexa Chung has done a lot for publicising M&S womenswear. As well as wearing that skirt, she has had two collections this year and both have been popular. However, endorsement from Alexa Chung is just one thing.

The main problem with M&S is that the audience is very broad. Who actually is the ideal M&S woman?

Is she a businesswoman, or is she a stay-at-home mum? Is she your grandma or is she a 20-something fashionista? The spectrum of styles of clothing is so broad she could be any; she could be all of these women.

For me, M&S is a store more often associated with slightly pricier food and tasty bakery treats. In fact, to get to this side of M&S I usually have to pass through the clothing. Depending what mood I’m in, sometimes I notice the clothing, but often I won’t. It is probably only because I have an interest in fashion that I do browse at all.

Over the summer I actually did purchase an item of clothing: I bought a leather jacket. It struck me, not only because of the quality, but also because I’d finally found a jacket with straight, non-tapered sleeves and without too many embellishments!

The thing is, M&S do have good quality pieces at a similar price to Topshop, so there should really be no reason not to shop there. Only the other day I noticed a beautiful embroidered jumper, so clearly it’s not true when people say that M&S clothing is ‘dated’.

M&S Brigate Store

In all honesty, it seems that M&S are trying to cater for everyone at the same time, and in doing so have stretched themselves too far. No one knows if they fit into the category of "M&S woman".

In an age where it’s easy to shop from the places you love online and on the go - an age where we are all busy 24/7 - can people really be bothered to take a trip to the store or browse the website in the off chance there might be something they want? That’s a question that doesn’t need an answer.

The fact that M&S are shutting down 30 stores with the intention to have 60 fewer clothing and homeware stores in five years time says it all.

Unless M&S rethink and target who they want to aim their brand at, their sales will continue to decline and maybe in ten or 15 years time there will be no M&S clothing at all. This would be a shame when so much of their woman’s clothing is not only wearable, but fashionable as well.




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