M&S to launch trial ‘Outlet’ stores

Marks & Spencer is not appointing a design consultancy to brand its new discount stores, but will instead be implementing existing interiors into three trial outlets which are due to open later this year.

Marks & Spencer is not appointing a design consultancy to brand its new discount stores, but will instead be implementing existing interiors into three trial outlets which are due to open later this year.

No decision has yet been taken about the development of a distinct logo for the new venture.

The new shops, called Marks & Spencer Outlet, will be situated at Ashford in Kent, Cheshire Oaks in Cheshire and Livingston in Scotland, offering customers reductions of at least 30 per cent. They will be part of leading European designer outlet centre developer and operator BAA McArthurGlen’s portfolio of designer outlet sites.

If successful, M&S will roll out the new concept to 12 UK sites and then to Europe next year.

An M&S spokeswoman says the interiors of the new sites will be “very much like existing M&S stores. The design will be along the lines of existing colourways and fittings. It may be a little different, but no radical changes.”

According to the retail group, which has suffered a lengthy period of difficulties, the move is in response to its buying approach, which has seen new ranges more frequently introduced, in an effort to stem declining sales.

However, a backlog of unsold stock from previous seasons has led M&S to establish the discount stores in order to sell these products more quickly, instead of on a twice yearly basis.

M&S Outlet director Simon Goldstein says: “The discount market is growing and shoppers are becoming ever more value- conscious.

“This, coupled with our desire to manage our stock more effectively and satisfy customer demand in the most appropriate way, while protecting the integrity of the brand, means that factory outlets present a very viable and appropriate proposition for the business.”

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