It’s got its Sparks back! Shoppers return to M&S as the high street stalwart is voted most improved fashion brand
- Major survey of 5,000 women found M&S is beating Next, Primark and Boohoo
- Shoppers raved about pricing, quality and style much more than previous years
- Products including wide leg denim trousers and linen outfits are most popular
M&S has been named as the most improved fashion brand as shoppers vote with their feet and return to the high street stalwart.
A growing number of shoppers have been wooed over the past year by stylish clothes at affordable prices, leading to a ‘genuine resurgence of the brand’, research from French bank BNP Paribas showed.
A major survey of 5,000 women across France, Germany, Spain and the UK looked at sentiment towards M&S and rivals including Next, Primark and Boohoo.
M&S shoppers were more glowing about factors like pricing, quality and style than they were the previous year, with the brand improving more than its retail rivals. M&S also scored better than it did before the pandemic.
The business, founded in 1884, has been protected from a fall in consumer spending because of its popularity selling staples such as underwear, pyjamas and school uniforms.
A growing number of shoppers have been wooed over the past year by stylish clothes at affordable prices, leading to a ‘genuine resurgence of the brand’
Fashionable products to have flown off the shelves recently at M&S include wide leg denim trousers and linen holiday outfits. And it is selling a bomber jacket every half an hour. Customers have also flocked through its doors after ‘the demise of high street peers like Debenhams’, the report said.
BNP Paribas said ‘management has put the spark back into M&S’, resulting in its clothing and home division – which contributes to more than half of group profits – having ‘strongly improved in the eyes of the consumer’.
Retail analyst Clive Black said: ‘They have basically worked out what their customers want and what they don’t, so are burrowing in on their core strengths of ladies denim, nightwear and underwear.’
But M&S still lagged behind High Street stalwarts such as Next on most metrics.
It comes as upmarket competitor John Lewis has problems ‘coming along like buses’, Mr Black said, after the employee-owned firm said it would not give staff an annual bonus.
He added: ‘If M&S was in the shape it was a decade ago John Lewis might not be so concerned.’
And retail analyst Nick Bubb highlighted a ‘stronger management team’ at M&S under chief executive Stuart Machin, who took on the job in May 2022.