Image copyright Marks and Spencer
Image caption The 70 s discovered the purposes of applying clothing department at M& S menswear while the ‘Scanlace’ bra became a bestselling part

From the beginning, when Observes and Spencer sold its first bra in 1926, the brand became a byword for British-made quality goods.

Shoppers fell in love with ‘easy-care’ fabric full-dress in the 1950 s and 60 s and with its adapting and knitwear in the 70 s and 80 s.

The customer was always right, and they got what they craved – quality everyday wear.

A restored focus on design in the 1990 s discovered the retailer scale new summits. Its clothing even graced the front treat of Vogue magazine. Supermodel Amber Valetta was peculiarity wearing a 21 M& S polyester shirt.

And with acclaim from the way press came bumper auctions. Observes and Spencer’s profits peaked in 1997 and 1998, surfacing 1bn.

But after the supernatural and twinkle, and despite the launch of a range of sub-brands like Per Una and Autograph – aimed at a more fashion-focused buyer – lucks began to change for Britain’s biggest clothing retailer, and the liaison began to chill.

Image copyright Annie Leibovitz/ M& S
Image caption The retailer expended a multitude of celebrities to endorse its way wanders including actress Dame Helen Mirren and artist Tracey Emin

Sali Hughes, a beauty and way reporter, says the retailer lost its crown causing high quality sections that are key to a woman’s wardrobe.

“Marks and Spencer should be about beautiful basics. They used to be really brilliant for character knitwear, adapting and good hosiery and underwear. I could go there and know I could buy a lily-white t-shirt that wasn’t too short or a plateau cashmere jumper that was well formed.

“Now it seems the specific characteristics are terrible, the sizing is all strange and the styles are seriously cut. There are also far more retailers on the high street and it’s easier to go somewhere else.”

In 2008, M& S splashed out 31 m on advertising and profits peaked again, surfacing 1bn. They have steadily fallen since.

Image copyright Rex Peculiarities and Marks and Spencer
Image caption Alexa Chung in her skirt, with the Marks and Spencer website image of the same part

Glimmers of way hope

Not even the batch of celebrity promotions from the likes of simulation Twiggy and actress Dame Helen Mirren have been enough to raise womenswear auctions.

There ought to have gleamings of hope. Fashionistas went mad for the mid-length suede skirt from M& S after it was worn by way celebrity Alexa Chung.

In 2015, the skirt was ascribed with helping to “jump start” the first profit rise for four years but not everyone was convinced.

The Guardian’s Hadley Freeman claimed the skirt represented “a triumph of M& S PR over actual way for women”.

The data indicates Marks and Spencer clothing auctions ought to have struggling, and not just for women.

For the past five years, clothing auctions have been in an inexorable decline, but why have they been falling?

Was it the climate? Observes and Spencer blamed its most recent 5.8% drop in general product auctions – which include invests – on “unseasonal conditions and availability”.

It also claimed the weather was a factor in January 2015, when it said here today 14 th consecutive quarterly drop in clothing auctions was down to unseasonal autumn weather.

Bitten from both ends

However, retail specialist Nick Bubb says: “You can’t make excuses about the climate every year.”

He says that one of the main problems has been that the retailer has been circumvented, and bitten from both ends.

Discounters and budget series have been taking market share from M& S at the lower end. Labels like Zara and H& M are taking a clump out of the middle end of the market, while John Lewis has embezzled a march on M& S at the highest end.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption In 2013 top simulation Rosie Huntington-Whiteley propelled a lingerie and nightwear assortment for M& S

“If you want to be all things to all men – and all women – it’s going to be an impossible project, ” he says.

M& S also has difficulties vying with series such as Zara and H& M on price versus character, Barclays Capital analyst Christodoulos Chaviaras says.

The quality of M& S invests is good, but people can get better quality for coin elsewhere, he says.

The firm’s focus on full price components while other retailers have discounted, also played a part in M& ‘Ss negative auctions, he adds.

And Mr Bubb says that Marks and Spencer has failed to keep up with the Joneses online – which is now the key battleground for retailers.

John Lewis started investing in online auctions more than 10 years ago, he says, and Marks and Spencer has been playing catch-up.

“Marks and Spencer has too high a share of a declining market – offline retailing – and too low a share of the online market.”

Senior management must also question its shame, he adds.

“They[ the members of the commission] have taken the decisions on branding and commerce, and they’ve been very late to the party[ with online ], ” he says.

Making a comeback?

Many yearn for the retailer to replace again, so what can M& S do?

Kirsty McGregor from fashion industry publication Drapers says: “There has been a good response to the last few seasons from the way press … what we’re not really checking is these styles and sizing alternatives in the regional storages and purchasers find that fairly frustrating.”

Retail analyst Tony Shiret includes: “They need to decide where the gaps in their coverage are, improve the quality of their classic staple ways and continue to make progress with the fashion.”

But be cautioned M& S, there is a disturbing adversary also striving for the entitlement of national treasure.

“Unfortunately for them[ M& S] John Lewis has embezzled the treetop as the retailer that everyone adoration and trusts, ” Sali Hughes said. “They have become the hole adoration and dependable aunty on the high street.

“I don’t think this is the end for M& S, they are unable turn it around. They just have to get back to what they were really good at.”

M& S may need to focus more on its “famous older customer”, Mr Bubb says.

At the moment general product is still very important to Marks and Spencer – it’s as important as food to the retail giant.

And M& S still has about 10% of the UK market – but this is a decline of more than 1% compared with five years ago, says Mr Chaviaras.

Incoming chief executive Steve Rowe, who will start in April, will have his occupation cut out to try to revive M& S invests, he says.

Should he sort out pricing and be enhanced M& S online – and was better at seducing the high-end customers who come into M& S for food towards its clothing wanders – then he may hitherto ward off the company’s competitors.

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