Marks & Spencer kidswear to shift focus to casual ‘everyday style’

Marks & Spencer is shifting the focus of its kidswear range from “special occasion” to “everyday style” as part of a broader plan to appeal to “busy family customers” and grow market share in kidswear.

The shifting focus comes as the British retailer notices changes in buying behaviour across its kidswear range with core casualwear products such as t-shirts, sweaters and leggings “backed with bigger buys and bought with confidence.” Kids’ leggings sales, for example, have increased 20-fold, with the retailer now selling 25,000 pairs a month.

As part of the change, the British retailer is also removing its sub-brand Autograph from kidswear. The brand, originally introduced in 2007, was focused on a more formal style using more premium fabrics and has seen declining sales in the past few years.

The company said it will be buying fewer formal “party” dresses, while suits are now available exclusively in bigger stores and online.

Additionally, 3-for-2 bundles will now be available year-round, supported by its first-ever window marketing campaign. The bundles have been particularly well received by customers, the retailer said, with daywear sales increasing 2.5 percent in the last quarter and sales for bundle items tripling.

For Spring 2020, Marks & Spencer has also added more focussed age breaks - while items such as a dress or joggers would previously be advertised for 3-16-year-olds, the products will now be clearly split into baby (0-3 years), younger (2-7 years) and older (6-16 years).

Despite the changes, the company insisted that its focus on quality remains the same with all items across Marks & Spencer Kids “designed to be ‘hand me down quality’ with robust testing to ensure items can be washed at 30 degrees and tumble dried.” The retailer also noted that the cotton items in the 3-for-2 deal are all made from 100 percent more sustainably sourced cotton.

Jill Stanton, director of kidswear at Mark & Spencer, said in a statement: “Marks & Spencer Kids is changing to broaden its appeal to more family shoppers. We know we have parents shopping schoolwear, with 1 in 4 kids wearing a Marks & Spencer uniform, but our wider Kids offer has been a bit too formal and not for everyday fun.

“Our new range is about being more playful - with fantastic fun prints, vibrant colours and the hard-wearing features that make them fit for playtime and fit to last. Customers have been noticing the unbeatable value of the 3-for-2 - but more importantly that it’s still the same Marks & Spencer quality they know and love.”

Photo credit: Marks & Spencer


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