M&S ramps up design refresh

British retail giant Marks & Spencer is working with
Caulder Moore and Fitch to modernise its stores, it has emerged this week.

British retail giant Marks & Spencer is working with Caulder Moore and Fitch to modernise its stores, it has emerged this week. Caulder Moore has been collaborating with M&S’s inhouse design team on the revamped men’s, women’s, childrenswear, footwear and technology merchandising areas, the retailer confirmed.

The clothing and technology concepts, which exist at various M&S sites, have been installed at The Pantheon, its flagship Oxford Street store in London, which finally unveiled its new look last week. At The Pantheon, Fitch worked with the in-house team to create the Food to Go area, combining its hot and cold food offerings for the first time.

Fitch joined the M&S design roster in 2006, when it was appointed to design standalone café concept M&S Kitchen. The retailer also took on Caulder Moore in 2006, after inviting the consultancy to submit ideas for its homewares concept Home. Caulder Moore creative director Ian Caulder reports that the M&S own-branded product range presents a major stumbling block when creating interiors for the retailer.

‘It’s a huge challenge to make the products stand out, because they are not branded,’ he says. ‘One of the solutions for M&S was its creation of the Blue Harbour jeans range, which is distinguished by its own marque and colour scheme. Our designs were led by solutions such as this.’

He adds that homogenous product branding throughout the store obstructs navigation. ‘Navigation is a major issue at M&S, so we tried to design the fixtures to help guide customers around the shop. We created the menswear section first, which was difficult. We ended up using dark, sombre colours to make the products stand out. We continued with womenswear and childrens wear, creating colourful, con trasting areas.’

An M&S spokeswoman describes the retailer’s relationship with Caulder Moore. ‘Caulder Moore helped to form the design DNA for our clothing concepts in the early stages, and then we devel oped that into the M&S style,’ she says. ‘We work less with the consultancy now than we did at the beginning of last year.’ She adds that there are no plans for a roll-out of the Food to Go concept currently debuting at The Pantheon. ‘As ever with hospitality, we dip our toe in the water. This is just about trialling another format,’ she adds.

LOOKING BEHIND THE LABEL

• In 2004, Marks & Spencer began its modernisation programme when Urban Salon revamped the format of stores at Sutton Coldfield, Shoreham and London’s Edgware Road, with signage and graphics by Graphic Thought Facility. Priestman Goode also oversaw the refresh of the three Café Revive coffee shops

• In 2006, M&S engaged Caulder Moore to revamp its fashion and footwear merchandising areas

• In 2007, Fitch collaborated with the in-house design team to create the unified hot and cold Food to Go concept, currently being trialled at The Pantheon on London’s Oxford Street, the last M&S flagship store to be modernised

• The modernisation programme is 70% complete, with the remaining stores due to be revamped next year

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