Demise of good clothing retailers

Share your experiences of local businesses - recommend or discourage!
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seahermit
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Joined: Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:53 pm

Demise of good clothing retailers

Postby seahermit » Sat Jul 17, 2021 3:27 pm

I have aired this topic before but this is just a short one about Marks and Spencer, whose sad decline must be making the original Jewish founders move restlessly in their graves.

A year or two back, I tried on a pair of burgundy corduroy trousers in M&S in Hastings. I am slim, so most "regular cut" things fit me fairly well (I can't stand skinny jeans or baggy-bottomed Chinos!). Terrible fit - tight in some places, baggy in others - very poorly tailored in short. I went into Debenhams and bought an excellent pair of similar cords (exactly the same measurements) for almost half the price - perfect fit with a nice "line" and they look good with a smart jacket.

M&S jeans used to be better, but the other week I made the same mistake! Bought a pair of black denim jeans and the fit was terrible , too tight in some places and bunched up, too loose in other places. Yesterday I found a similar pair of jeans in Sainsburys (good clothing section!) and the fit was perfect and smart.

If I thought they would take any notice, I would write to the Chief Executive or somebody! A good tailor knows that half an inch here and there makes a very big difference, but the M&S clothes are churned out en masse somewhere in Asia and they don't get the initial patterns completely right first.

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Richard
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Re: Demise of good clothing retailers

Postby Richard » Sat Jul 17, 2021 11:14 pm

M&S should copy the example of Waitrose and concentrate on food retailing.
A huge area of the shop is wasted on selling out-dated and dowdy clothing.

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seahermit
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Re: Demise of good clothing retailers

Postby seahermit » Sun Jul 18, 2021 3:11 am

It is hard for a non-business insider to know what is really going on, because M&S are hardly going to engage with the public and say frankly "We are doing badly" but the evidence is there if you look : not only, as you say, the outdated and dowdy clothing (and the poor quality of it) but also the simple lack of footfall. In Hastings and in the Ravenside branch, it is very rare to see more than one other customer besides myself in the men's clothing section. .. at any time of day.

The floor is deserted and so M&S's turnover can only be coming mainly from food sales - they would do their whole business a service by recognising their failure to tune in with what customers want - and to abandon clothes, specialise in food instead.

Was there always such lethargy amongst business concerns, an inability to adapt and change tack when things weren't working.? I suppose some businesses have disappeared because products become outdated or unfashionable, but M&S had a different customer base surely? They could always be relied on for "quality clothes" (often quite traditional ) which were also well-designed and smart. In my early working days, every male in the office bought his socks, jumpers and knickers in "a certain high street shop" and it became an ongoing joke and a cliche.

Maybe the costs of investment into new stores and new ways of trading are nowadays so huge that it is very difficult for an old company to change out of its tramline. But Primark manages to attract whole families browsing around and, foodwise, Lidl and Aldi are very much catching up on the big boys ..


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