Online sales at Marks & Spencer are down, seemingly because we love the food and hate the clothes. Let’s take a deeper look at Britain’s love-hate relationship with the high-street giant…
Reasons we love M&S
Still the go-to destination for stocking up your underwear drawer, Marks officially has the most reliable knickers and bras in the world, ever. From good old granny pants to slightly sexier lingerie, M&S knick-knacks are a true staple – and if your breasts have dramatically ballooned overnight, their team of bra fitters are pretty handy too.
2. Cheap cards
Realised it’s your husband’s/daughter’s/cousin’s birthday a bit too late? Never fear, Marks has just the greeting card for you at a fraction of the price of those over-inflated-high-street-stationery-shops-we’re-not-going-to-mention. And, with your loyalty card, you get a free one every time you buy six – bonus!
3. Click and send
If you don’t have a full-scale M&S on your doorstep, you can buy online and pick up your purchases in your local Simply Food shop without paying postage and packing. For busy mums, there’s even a text message service for ordering iron-on name labels for kids’ clothes – simply text a name and your address and they arrive by post. Genius!
4. Mmm… food
There’s something about the quality of M&S produce – everything just tastes… better. As the classic ad goes, it’s not just any perfect-for-sharing (or not) box of Mini Bites, it’s an M&S box of Mini Bites. It’s a toss-up between classic Rocky Road and Oatberry Clusters for the ultimate Mini Bite crown though…
5. Mmm… David Gandy
Shopping is so much more fun when there’s a life-sized picture of David Gandy, below, the world’s highest-paid male supermodel, to ogle. No-one can make a simple sweatshirt look better. He might even be tastier than a Mini Bite.
Reasons we hate M&S
1. Clothing confusion
Let’s get this right… So we have Indigo for the ‘chic bohemian’ trendies? Autograph for the working ladies? Per Una for the more flamboyant set? Not to mention the Limited Edition and Classic collections. Stop naming everything and just make clothes we want to wear please. Thank you.
2. Bad fit
Some shops you can walk into on any day of any year and know you’re going to find your new capsule wardrobe and that everything in your size will fit you perfectly. Not so with M&S, where clothes often have great hanger appeal only for it all to go a little weird-sizing pear-shaped in the changing room.
3. Jack of all trades…
Master of none. The latest ad campaign, shot by Annie Leibovitz, above, showed a line-up of seven ladies led by Emma Thompson, Rita Ora and Annie Lennox. Yes, a celebration of diversity and a boast about the all-encompassing brilliance of M&S clothes, but also the sartorial equivalent of spreading oneself too thin.
4. Changing room mirrors
Get some new ones please, so we can’t see all our cellulite (plus our back-fat, love handles and big bums) as if under a microscope in one instantly soul-destroying 360-degree display. If we were going to buy that pencil skirt, we’re not now, sorry.
5. You can’t buy Mini Bites online
Need we say more?