Marks & Spencer has given all store managers iPhones - to allow them to spend more time on the shop floor.

Initially, the phones will include an app showing videos from M&S buyers talking about products, but the retailer is working on software that will allow managers to do traditional backroom tasks on the shop floor, such as managing staff absences and stock availability.

This week, the retailer was showing off its latest in-store technology at the opening of its Cheshire Oaks store in Chester, including touchscreen ‘browse and order’ stations, digital display screens and virtual makeover stations.

“Being a multichannel retailer is not just about having the best website - it is also about building an inspirational buying experience in store to work with online,” said M&S e-commerce and multichannel director Laura Wade-Gery. M&S was putting more money behind multichannel than she had in her last job as head of, she added, investing £150m in a web platform for launch in 2014, and £100m on in-store technology, including free Wi-Fi.