Over the past 10 weeks, M&S has run 20 Food stores across Northern Ireland and so has extensive knowledge to help it operate its Clothing business.
M&S has 10 stores that sell both clothing and food; these are led by a single manager so it means they and their team already have a brilliant working knowledge of the necessary hygiene measures to keep everyone well and how to manage social distancing and the flow of customers in and out of their store.
When you visit M&S to shop clothing you can expect the same robust measures as when you’ve shopped food. M&S’s plans include:
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When customers arrive: A friendly colleague will manage the flow of customers in and out of all M&S stores to maintain social distancing – so there may be a short queue.
When customers enter: Hand sanitiser will be available and the baskets to use will all be metal ones making them easier to be regularly cleaned.
Throuoghout the shop: Shop safely signage (pictured above) and floor markings will be clearly visible to remind everyone to give each other the space they need and to make it easier to find products – undoubtedly customers will be more mission focused in how they shop.
Service alternatives: The M&S team will be keeping all close-contact services temporarily closed, this includes bra fittings, suit fittings and kidswear footwear fittings. The retailer has enhanced its bra fit tool on its website and colleagues will also be on hand to give advice.
Cafes closed: Cafes will remain closed to sit in, but M&S Boucher Road Belfast will offer coffee to go with contactless collection.
Quick and easy payment: All M&S tills will have perspex screens installed and clear signage encouraging contactless payments; M&S Clothing tills are set up to accept the new £45 limit.
Fitting rooms: Fitting rooms will remain closed but for now M&S’s refund policy will remain at 90 days, helping customers shop with confidence.
Online offering: M&S will continue to offer Click & Collect to all stores, 7 day a week, completely free.
All stores will sell items from M&S’s Rainbow sale which launched online two weeks ago and has resonated with M&S’s customers – over half a million shoppers browsed it in the first week. M&S will donate 10% of the purchase price, excluding VAT, of all Rainbow Sale items to NHS Charities Together. The retailer also continues to sell its popular ‘All In This Together’ T-shirts, worn by Holly Willoughby and Amanda Holden, with 65,000 already sold and newer designs (pictured right) available online now.
Philip Conlon, Head of Region for M&S in Northern Ireland said: “I’m extremely proud of the M&S Northern Ireland team and how they have adjusted to a new way of working in our stores. Our store teams across Northern Ireland have been brilliant at implementing the necessary social distancing and hygiene measures to help customers shop our food, and we’ll be bringing those lessons and insights over to Clothing & Home.
“We have been working really hard to put essential safety measures in place from the installation of perspex screens at tills, to putting in new signage. Whilst shopping may feel different, there will still be the same great service and expert advice customers expect of M&S, as well as more digital solutions to supplement the in-store experience – such as our enhanced online bra fit tool.”