Marks & Spencer has outlined its plans for non-essential retail reopening in England and Wales on Monday 12 April, preparing staff and visitors for a one-way road to normality.
The high street retailer has confirmed it plans to reopen all clothing and home locations across its stores (1,038 as of 2020), with new services launched to help customers, such as easier payment and contact free bra fittings.
Customers at 250 stores which sell lingerie can choose from a contact-free bra fitting from its expert colleagues, or a virtual at home appointment via video with an M&S expert.
The retailer is also due to expand its popular on-the-spot payment service Pay With Me, originally introduced in the run up to Christmas to help reduce queues at 200 of its busiest foodhalls. The service will now be offered at 50 of its lingerie stores, so customers can purchase lingerie straight after their fit appointment without needing to visit a till.
It is also set to permanently keep some 2020 favourites, such as having a friendly colleague greeter at the door and offering a 8pm cut off for free next day pick up at over 800 stores via Click & Collect.
In the beauty department, M&S is to begin trialing new technology to connect customers via video appointment with a specialist colleagues in-store, helping to inform purchases before visiting stores, as well as shopping from home.
Launching alongside the reopening plans, Marks & Spencer has announced its ‘Bring On’ campaign, putting a spotlight on products customers are searching for online as social events start to return and the summer season kicks off.
Alison Grainger, M&S’s Head of Clothing & Home for Retail, commented: “We know lots of customers are excited about dressing up for picnics and alfresco dining with friends & family and our stores will be bursting with tiered dresses, pretty tops and new seasonal denim. Whilst it’s no longer all just about loungewear, as you would expect we’re going to be dedicating more space to casualwear in our shops than pre-pandemic.
“In store customers will also see wardrobe essentials redefined – with relaxed t-shirts and sweats which have now become mainstays updated in fresh, vibrant colours. Optimistic slogan tops have been popular online, and I think lots of customers will pick these up when they visit us in store.”
M&S is also set to boost one of its most popular rewards for customers shopping with Sparks, with every M&S store, every day set to reward one lucky Sparks customer with their entire shopping for free. Running for a limited two weeks from 12th April, the campaign comes as M&S recently hit its 10 millionth Sparks customer, with over 2.5m new customers joining since it relaunched in July last year.
Sacha Berendji, M&S Retail, Ops & Property Director, added: “The last year has accelerated many of the trends and shopping patterns we were seeing pre-crisis, and we have responded as part of our Never the Same Again transformation programme to build a shopping experience that’s fit for the future and one that enables customers to shop the way they want.
“As we start to reopen our Clothing & Home space, we’ve pulled out all the stops to deliver the stylish, relevant products our customers are searching for, and help deliver a more flexible, easier and rewarding shopping experience for our customers so that they have everything they need to be ready to bring on the summer.”