- Team of 1,800 “Magic Makers” to spread festive cheer and help keep customers safe
- M&S set to spread magic & sparkle with the launch of Sparks 12 Days of Giveaways, offering over 7,500 customers a “Christmas shop on us”
From Wednesday 2nd December, all M&S stores in England will reopen all clothing sections, with the retailer pledging to help their customers shop with confidence so they can deliver the magic & sparkle for their loved ones this Christmas. M&S also wants to help make the festive shop enjoyable, with customers telling the retailer shopping helps get them into the Christmas spirit and that they enjoy the inspiration that comes from shopping in-store.
Our dedicated Magic Makers
Taking the lead with helping M&S customers shop with confidence is the retailer’s team of 1,800 “Magic Makers” – sashed up and on hand to help. These colleagues, selected for their customer service skills, will manage counting customers into stores to ensure social distancing using M&S’s bespoke app and they will be there to answer any customer queries. No M&S door will be seen without a “Magic Maker” – meaning up to eight will be on shift at any one time in M&S’s biggest stores.
Extra time to help keep everyone save
M&S will be reopening with extended shopping hours which will gradually increase up until Christmas and from the 21st – 23rd December two-thirds of shops (around 400) will be open until midnight. These are M&S’s longest-ever opening hours and for customers planning ahead, are all available now on M&S’s store finder (available on the app or website) so customers can find information on their local store.
Queue-busting festive solutions
M&S has focused on utilising digital solutions to ensure social distancing is maintained whilst queues are minimised. Sparks Book & Shop is live at all UK M&S stores so customers can book to shop at a time that suits them – over 175,000 slots have now been booked by customers. Customers can also skip the queue at any store using Mobile Pay Go – M&S is the first major retailer to fully roll out this tech.
For those who do have a short wait when they arrive, M&S has begun to install temporary “festive tunnels” to shelter customers from the winter weather. Decked out with QR codes, they link through to the M&S product developers’ top picks for festive food to provide inspiration while you wait.
Sparks 12 Days of Giveaways
Adding to the festive joy, M&S is introducing Sparks ‘12 Days of Giveaways’ – a daily giveaway which will result in over 7,500 customers receiving their in-store or online basket for free – from matching family PJs to all the food for the big day. The giveaway will include one customer every day at every single store, as well as 50 customers a day online. Currently, one Sparks customer a week gets their shopping for free in every store & online (23,000 baskets have been given away since Sparks relaunched in July). Good things happen every time customers shop with Sparks (even if you don’t get your basket for free) as M&S donates to a customer’s chosen charity.
Sacha Berendji, M&S’s Retail, Operations & Property Director said:
“Our store teams have been incredible throughout this time, and this Christmas season they’re stepping up again to keep everyone safe, and to help keep Christmas special. After this year, we know customers want to deliver the magic for their loved ones – from the food they love to the perfect thoughtful gift – so we want to play our part to make shopping easier. This Christmas, in addition to our extensive hygiene measures, we’re offering our longest-ever opening hours and important new services like ‘Sparks Book and Shop’, whilst still delivering the festive feeling and inspiration customers are after in our shops.”
Showing the Christmas spirit in-store
In addition to shops being safe, customers have been clear they want to feel “Christmassy” when they get back into the shops. M&S’s latest survey shows three-quarters of customers are looking forward to Christmas overall and they’re planning to do 40% of gift shopping in-store. From reopening day M&S has added the touch of festive magic: Christmas music on the M&S stores playlist will rise to 80%, customer Christmas hand sanitiser will start to appear in shops in two scents (apple & cinnamon and gingerbread), and the team has increased efforts with in-store decorations – with over 8,000 Christmas trees up across the M&S store estate.
All M&S stores continue to have robust cleaning processes in place and extensive signage to encourage customers to be kind, give everyone space & cover their face. For customers shopping online, M&S continues to offer contact-free delivery and free click & collect, no matter what you spend, to over 600 stores.
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Note to Editors:
Top 10 Lockdown Trends from M&S
Many of the products we saw customers turn to early in the year have remained popular – from cosy clothing to fragrances for the home – but as we approach the end of the second nationwide lockdown in England and are heading towards Christmas, many of our best-sellers now reflect that our customers are getting ahead with their plans to make the festive season special – from picking up the rose prosecco to ordering the best ever turkey crown.
- These boots are made for walking – With the weather still turning colder and walks remaining popular, customers have been investing in new boots. Our Biker Block Heel Ankle Boots were a bestseller last week and are currently 30% off.
- Comfort is king – Across mens, womens & kidswear, comfy product still tops best sellers list – from joggers to jeggings. Our £15 jeggings (available in 16 colours) continue to be the hero item of 2020 for M&S and were our number one best seller in womenswear last week.
- Go Jumpers – Cosy knitwear with a nod to the festive season is proving very popular – like our fairisle funnel neck jumper.
- Dressing up – Even though we’re all spending more time at home customers are still looking for a feel-good purchase. Our Animal Print Plisse Midaxi Waisted Dress as seen on Holly Willoughby (left) is proving popular as a versatile dress customers are also saying is perfect for Christmas Day.
- Wellbeing – Home fragrance, candles and diffusers all continue to be popular with customers spending more time at home – we’re on track to sell 1 million candles this festive season. Our Apothecary range is fast becoming an iconic own brand for M&S Home and the gift sets available are proving popular as modern & relevant gifts, items start from just £3
- Popping the Prosecco – Pink prosecco is the biggest drinks trend of 2020 and ours is the only supermarket offer to come from a family-run winery. Winning the Daily Mail taste test (5/5) our customers are enjoying it during lockdown and stocking up for the festive season.
- Time to Party – New innovative party food lines are proving very popular (for lockdown feasts and for freezing for Christmas), items on offer include Plant Kitchen Mini No Chicken Kievs, Chip Shop Style Battered Mini Sausages with Curry Sauce and Chicken Donut Dippers – all just £5 sales are already up 50% compared to last year.
- Percy Pig – Percy Pig has been popular throughout this time with 3 million bags of Percy’s sold since March. Twenty new Percy products have launched since September including the bestseller -1kg Percy Glass Sweet Jar (over 100,000 customers have already purchased).
- Time for Turkey – Customers have been getting their Christmas Food to Order selections in, with the Perfect Turkey Crown for £50 a popular choice – this year it’s won both the Good Housekeeping and Olive Magazine taste test.
- Perfect Panettone – Customers are loving our Triple Chocolate Panettone for £10 – with decorative packaging it makes an ideal edible gift this festive season.