ARE we all ready to fall back in love with Marks & Spencer this autumn?
It hopes so — because after a rocky 18 months the high street favourite has raided the archives to recreate some of its greatest hits.
M&S revealed its autumn/winter collection yesterday and fans may recognise some familiar pieces. A muted fuchsia coat for £65 is like the sell-out bright number that tickled shoppers pink in autumn 2013.
A posy-print midi-dress is aimed to create the same magic as the floral frock modelled for them by TV’s Holly Willoughby that was one of their biggest sellers last autumn.
The collection is all about comfort, practicality and versatility, which is what M&S’s customers have long been crying out for.
Instead of flash-in-the-pan trends, it has released The Edit — a curated pick of stylish essentials. Bosses hope it will build on better-than-expected recent M&S sales.
Shares in the company leapt 12 per cent, with sales up 29.1 per cent versus last year, largely due to a 62 per cent rise in online customers. The revival is thanks in part to celebrity signings including This Morning telly TV host Holly Willoughby — who will not have an edit this season but will continue as a brand ambassador — and model and actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who is back for her ninth year.
But it is also down to what M&S does best — underwear. This remains its No1 seller, with M&S shifting 24million bras a year and holding 37.5 per cent of the market.
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So this season there are more flirty frillies in its new Boutique brand, as well as PJs and loungewear.
Giving customers more of what they want is very clearly M&S’s priority and with this collection the retailer has hit on a winning formula. Its pieces are safe but with a stylish edge, and of course affordable.
Hopefully it will be enough to keep the autumn chill off M&S’s balance sheet. Here is a peek at what is coming . . .