Sir: Sarah Peters might think that the new M&S budget range is “unconvincing” and “too little and too late” (‘M&S range is Simply unconvincing claims retail analyst’, 19 May), but there is much that is unusual - in a good way - about M&S’s decision to create and heavily market its value range.
Retailers are faced with the unknowns of a double-dip and the new buyer behaviours that will result. It will be unusual for shoppers to think of M&S as anything but premium and it’s unusual for M&S to sway more heavily towards price. What’s not unusual is M&S taking such a bold decision - and such a good one.
Introducing a budget range is a solid strategy both in identifying the current realities of even its staunchest regulars, as well as offering permissibility for the broader shopper-sphere. The range also neatly addresses the increasing shift to more frequent, smaller ‘for tonight’ basket shops.
This is a smart move, but I suspect the in-house M&S analysts are sweating a little about prospective regular-range cannibalisation. The next smart move would be to introduce a loyalty CRM platform if M&S really wants to play successfully in this space.
Darren Keen, MD, MARS\Y&R