Urban Salon cuts new style for M&S

Marks & Spencer this week unveils an overhauled store format for three of its major outlets, in Sutton Coldfield, Shoreham and London’s Edgware Road, created by design consultancy and architect Urban Salon.

Marks & Spencer this week unveils an overhauled store format for three of its major outlets, in Sutton Coldfield, Shoreham and London’s Edgware Road, created by design consultancy and architect Urban Salon.

With floor-space well in excess of 4700m2 each, the three stores are the first large-scale M&S sites to be regenerated under chief executive Stuart Rose’s efforts to revive the fortunes of the struggling retailer.

Graphic Thought Facility is handling signage and graphics throughout the shops, adopting a ‘much more informal way of communicating with customers’, according to M&S retail design manager Chris McManus. Hanging signage is largely removed, reserved only for ‘need to know’ information, she adds.

Priestman Goode is overseeing a ‘second generation’ design for Café Revive, the M&S coffee shop, in order to bring it in line with changes in the rest of the store.

Working with Lighting and Product Design, M&S has also reviewed its ambient lighting and has increased the use of ‘accent lighting’, which illuminates a specific product or display.

A refreshed food area will be seen for the first time this week, featuring black flooring and equipment. ‘We want to capture the operation of a supermarket, with the feeling of a deli,’ says McManus.

Lingerie also receives a make-over, as lower ambient light and carpeting create a ‘bedroom-type environment’ that is ‘feminine, warm and intimate’.

Last week saw the launch of many of the format’s elements in the smaller, ‘heartland’-sized store in Basingstoke, a clothing- only outlet. These designs have been trialled in similar stores in Speke and Fforestfach.

Rose will now assess customer feedback, but ‘will want to make a decision pretty quickly’ on how to roll out the format across M&S’s 375-store estate, says McManus.

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