M&S claims ‘unashamedly commercial’ Christmas ad strategy paid off

Keiligh Baker's picture
by Keiligh Baker

Nathan Ansell, director of marketing for clothing and home, said M&S decided to take an “unashamedly commercial approach" to its Christmas ad strategy which paid off.

Sales of clothing and food were down at Marks & Spencer in the third quarter of 2018 which the retailer has blamed on a combination of low consumer confidence, mild weather, Black Friday and widespread discounting by rivals.

But Ansell said the campaign worked well, with record sales across all advertised lines.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said M&S had “held its nerve in a very competitive market” and the business can see “early signs of encouragement” that it is on the right track to ensure the business has a long-term future. However, he said he “didn’t want to call it” on how long it might take to return to positive growth.

The decline in clothing & home reflected lower footfall to stores, partly as a result of  the increasing pace of closures. M&S also decided not to take part in Black Friday this year – something Rowe maintains was the “right thing to do” and despite John Lewis recording its biggest ever sales week in the period.

Meanwhile UK online sales grew above the market average and was up by 14%, which boss Steve Rowe said highlights the need to accelerate its store closure programme and shows it is on track to move a third of its business online within the next three to five years.