M&S to promote "modern" branding

Marks and Spencer hopes its new campaign will help to present the company as "modern, relevant and contemporary".

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, director of marketing and international at the retailer, told Marketing that the latest strategy was an attempt to reconnect with customers and drive greater sales.

In its half-year results, group sales were up 0.5 per cent year-on-year to £4.8 billion. However, clothing sales have now fallen for 13 consecutive quarters, demonstrating how this side of the business does not boast the same level of brand value.

Back in September, the company revealed it was unifying its food and general merchandise under one tagline - Only M&S - for a 12-month period, the first time it had done so in the near 130-year history of the retailer.

M&S is focusing heavily on its marketing efforts - the most recent budget was up 19.4 per cent and further increases are planned, as it seeks to arrest a sales decline. But Mr Bousquet-Chavanne recognises this will take time.

"Consumer perception does not move overnight. We are on that journey, you have a food business that is highly aspirational and a general merchandise business that was clearly less aspirational," he added.

Mr Bousquet-Chavanne stated the retailer has done some great work around design, style and quality in recent months, but now is the time to make sure the "amazing products" it has coming to market are showcased in the right way.

As part of this, M&S should consider innovative in-store displays, as these offer the brand an ideal platform for advertising specific items to customers. For example, free standing displays can be used to add additional brand value to a product.

This is especially important with Christmas on the horizon, as shoppers are expected to spend around £13 billion during the festive period.

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