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What is up with M & S?

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susiecb Sat 06-Aug-11 09:47:39

I despair! I have carried on with M & S through thick and thin, loved it when per Una and Autograph Weekend came to town but recently forays have left me purchasless. Have their designers and buyers all got terminal depression? The colours are dire, the styles difficult to wear and repetitious - how many Per Una funny buttoned cardigans can they turn out and where have the nice skirts gone? In one of their larger stores this week just outside Leicester I tried to buy nice linen trousers and tops for a holiday. The linen trousers were very cheap admittedly but my dish cloth has more style and wearability- as for tops if I was taking up a job in an undertakers they might just suit. As for lingerie the choices were lurid spotty things with those aweful Brazilian shorts instead of knickers or those sponge cup things you could bake a Yorkshire in. If you dont wear pyjamas but nighties like I do (pj's ride up in the night) then its a nice floral wyncyette type; and what has happened to the Knitwear - can noboldy finish a sleeve - does everything chunky have to end half way up my bicep and forget the cashmere - too pricey and difficult to wash. M & S used to be famous for its knitwear - what happened? End of rant. Is it me?

JessM Sat 06-Aug-11 10:02:20

Oh no susieb. How on earth they stay in business is a total mystery to me. Does the food section subsidise women's clothes - it cant do when you see the floor space. Just occasionally i like something in peruna but normally head next door to Gap. Even my MIL complains and she is v mainstream Union of Catholic Mothers in her style.
The mens dept too is a mystery. How do they sell business clothes to men without offering any help e.g. Have you got a pair of charcoal, flat fronted trousers in 40 waist and long length? Well just spend half an hour looking yourself why don't you. Cos there is no-one to ask.
It seems a shame that such a well known british brand cannot do better.

em Sat 06-Aug-11 10:31:06

Agree - what's going on? Saw an outfit that merited a second glance but was disappointed to see it was one of those all-in-one jobs pretending to be a blouse and crossover cardigan. Might have bought it as separates but can't stand these combined thingies (or is that just me?). Not another thing worth looking at!

susiecb Sat 06-Aug-11 10:32:24

I'm glad I am not alone - and did I mention have to traipse all the way round the store to find a pay desk. The assistants have all been trained to say 'thank you for waiting' as they know we have all been waiting but thats all M & S are going to do about it!

gma Sat 06-Aug-11 12:18:10

Agree with all comments. In our local M&S-incidently having a huge make over-I can never find an assistant to answer a query! e.g. Why have a huge banner showing a model wearing a top and trousers which. I am reliably informed, are not available instore? Yes, I know that I could order them on line, but I am in the shop NOW!!! By the middle of July all summer gear has been spirited away only to be replace by school uniforms and dreary 'seen it all before' tops and 'very ordinary' trousers. Dont mention the cardigans. There cannot be any further colour combinations to churn out or any odd buttons to use up!! Come on M&S get your act together!!!! Get some new designers and manufacturers. Right, now that I have got that off my (M&S upholstered) bosom- it must be wine o,clock !!! Cheers wine

goldengirl Sat 06-Aug-11 12:25:35

Oh dear, oh dear! How very sad. I've bought some T shirts in there recently but the jeans / trousers never fit properly so I too have virtually given up on them. I buy bits for DH from time to time because they actually fit him in his size, but I've been decanting to Next recently even for him - more modern looking. I too find their knickers not my style. I'm a big pants girl I'm afraid because I don't like bulges where there should be any, but I do like pretty ones - if I can find them.

Joan Sat 06-Aug-11 13:20:04

We don't have M&S here in Queensland, well, not that I know of anyway. I have good memories of the place, but obviously things have changed in 30 years!

I've noticed most clothes here are dull too - so much black, grey and red. Sometimes a clothing display looks like an op shop, though op shops seem to have better colours these days.

Luckily I don't need clothes for the office anymore - shorts and TShirts, or trousers and jumpers are all that is needed these days.

susiecb Sat 06-Aug-11 14:15:41

I had a naughty Boden moment this week and my things have all come together a couple of days after ordering, free delivery and a lovely qualty. before you say it I know they cost more but then I shall have to buy less and they all fit and I am an odd shape.

I think I am giving up on M & S (is there anybody listening out there in executive land or are you all on holiday with David Cameron and Nick Clegg fiddling while Rome burns but thats another story).

sylvia2036 Sat 06-Aug-11 14:44:31

susiecb - A few years ago I wrote to the CEO of M&S (this was before Stuart Rose) complaining about their lack of quality in everything, how out of date all their women's clothes seemed to be (I think I said something about my granny not wanting to wear them), how colours always seemed to be pink, purple and black etc etc. I received back the most patronising letter ever, from customer services (nothing from the man himself), and was so mad about it. There was no point writing again because it was obvious they had started dumbing down the women's section and they didn't give a damn. Quality does not matter as they are now aiming the majority of their clothes at the great unwashed who are happy to pay £5 for a tee-shirt made in a sweatshop in India. On the other hand, my husband can always find great quality clothes.

townie Sat 06-Aug-11 15:36:07

susie - I buy quite a lot from Boden and agree with you that they are a better prospect than M and S. I always buy when they have a reduction on (eg, 20% preview, etc), so the price doesn't come out so very different from the stuff I'd buy at M and S (not interested in their cheapest stuff).

Like others, am very disappointed by Marks now, specially Per Una which is truly ghastly - it's almost unbelievable that a human mind could have conceived of some of their garish naff patterns and horrible 'embellishments'. As for the so-called Classic Collection, I try not even to look at that, but it makes me cringe any time I glimpse it in crossing the store!

Do have to make a bit of an exception for Autograph Weekend, though. Their quality is OK and, unlike the dread Per Una, they do generally understand that less is more! Some of the stripy tops I've bought in that range over last couple of seasons are as stylish and useful additions to my wardrobe as are my Boden tunics.

JessM Sat 06-Aug-11 15:45:29

MMm yes sylvia2036 i once wrote to him as well about the fact that they were selling chickens in aluminium baking trays. Yes, a snotty letter back. Eventually after several years of claiming to be green they gave it up but still sell lots of things in aluminium trays.
I can't remember his name but he was the one that chaired a government committee on corporate governance and then ignored the recommendations by being chair and MD at the same time. Apparently he used to want to join the women's underwear decision making meetings and then fall asleep...
They have recently revamped the whole of their childrens range (as have Next) . Both of them used to be totally ghastly design but both have improved.

Charlotta Sat 06-Aug-11 15:57:25

I have despaired of M&S for a long time now. I buy their cashmilon short sleeved jumpers (£12) which I have in all colours and they look good under jackets as I don't want these deep cut necklines. I did order the long sleeved version on- line once and one had sleeves of different lengths, and with the other two the 14 was bigger than the 16. You have to buy such basics on the internet as they are never in the shops in all colours.
I also buy their wide leg house trousers which I usually have to shorten.
I have a navy lambswool pullover which I bought over 20 years ago and which I wear in winter a lot. It is indestructable.
They had a spread for the older woman in 'The Lady' this week, and there was not one garment I would consider wearing.

HildaW Sat 06-Aug-11 21:40:08

Susiecb..........yes the staff who trot out 'thank you for waiting'..its a hoot because they have not looked up at us customers, so how do they know we have been? and (dare I say it?) sometimes I have not actually been waiting and I'm bursting to say something....but then realise I really cant be arsed! And what have I actually bought in M&S of late.....a few items of food, childrens' socks and one pair of cheap trousers for throwing in a suitcase, compared to how much I used to get from then 10 -15 years ago its pathetic. The trouble is they still seem to make a profit so are not interested in comments. All my everyday wardrobe now comes from Landsend or Boden, if I'm feeling a bit more trendy. I had been very happy with the Portfolio range but thats history now!

JessM Sat 06-Aug-11 21:59:40

This is fun. Slagging off M and S. I think they are a fair target as they are so darn smug. And IT BELONGS TO THE SHAREHOLDERS ("your M and S" indeed!)
The staff that stomp around the store expecting you to get out of their way are quite special.
Colours they have a problem with, I agree. For a long time they were fixated on powder blue and red, for decades, i swear.
They were doing a limey colour a couple of seasons back, which can suit me - but their version was a particularly toxic looking nasty acidic version.
Why is it so difficult susieb to buy nice plain cotton nighties with long sleeves that don't look completely naff. (trying not to be great-granny-ist !)
Companies make all kinds of efforts with pyjamas these days. (loungewear, sorry, you hang around watching TV in them it seems)
Past Times used to be a source but no longer a local presence (did they go bust?) Bonsoir by mail order, sometimes.... any ideas?

goldengirl Sat 06-Aug-11 22:20:33

Bank staff say thank you for waiting as well which I find frustrating because what choice do I have if I need the service. I have retorted same to M & S staff with a smile and had a nervous laugh in response! I felt better anyway.

Grumpyoldwoman Sun 07-Aug-11 00:09:07

we only have a food store near us (15 miles) and I hardly ever go into a larger store.
I do like M&S food which is much better value than it used to be with some excellent 'reductions' in the afternoons
I buy a few things online...but find fewer and fewer items I really like.

Mind you ...I buy dozens and dozens of M&S kids socks to make my Sock Monkeys. The only place I could get camoflague socks to make ''soldier'' Monkeys this year.....hope they get more .

Baggy Sun 07-Aug-11 06:26:59

I don't even know where my nearest M&S is! Well, I know which town it's in.

JessM Sun 07-Aug-11 07:37:50

Congratulations Baggy, that is quite an achievement.

christineH Sun 07-Aug-11 09:16:08

For the first time ever I recently went into M & S and took three items into the changing room to try. I came out and said I love them all! I'm just grateful that the fashion for jumpers that only reach to your tummy button has passed. Everything looked like they had been in a laundry accident.

JessM Sun 07-Aug-11 09:56:52

combined with trousers that fail to cover your bum crack. What a great look it was for the middle aged!

jangly Sun 07-Aug-11 10:19:47

I heart per una.

jangly Sun 07-Aug-11 10:20:05

I heart Welsh cakes, but that's another story.

townie Sun 07-Aug-11 12:20:00

I hate Per Una, I'm afraid - but obviously lots of people do love it or M and S wouldn't give it so much store space. Also hated Portfolio - at least that's gone - if only Autograph Weekend would expand a bit to fill the gap!

JessM Sun 07-Aug-11 14:42:19

Welsh cakes when freshly made in Swansea market?

riclorian Sun 07-Aug-11 14:44:30

Agree with all of you . The only thing I buy in M& S now are bras . I find I walk through our local giant store these days amd find nothing interesting enough to leave the walkway for . I may be a great gran but I certainly don't want to look like one !!

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