M&S continues brands strategy with FAO Schwarz addition
Just a week after M&S announced a strong set of financial results, the retail giant has unveiled a new brand link-up that suggests it’s moving even faster towards becoming a full physical and digital department store.
The company, which used to sell only its own brand, has added famed toy seller FAO Schwarz to 20 stores across the UK and to its website.
And while that may not seem to have huge relevance to its fashion offer, it underlines its commitment to its ‘Brands at M&S’ strategy that’s largely about fashion and also adds yet another reason for family-focused shoppers to visit its store and its webstore.
Toys have already proved a popular new product option for M&S customers, 64% of orders for an Early Learning Centre product (which landed on the site last year) also including at least one product from another M&S department.
M&S isn’t quite the one-stop shop that a traditional department store is just yet, but the addition of toys clearly helps it to get closer.
The company said the FAO Schwarz link-up sees it with a “bespoke offer of around 50 bestselling products [that] has been selected for M&S customers including toy racing cars, music mats, craft kits and adorable plush toys”.
And of course, the timing is ideal given that the festive shopping season is just getting into gear.
The launch of the brand in its stores is the first time the heritage toy brand has been available on local UK high streets, with locations including Bluewater, Stratford, Cardiff, Liverpool, Leeds and Plymouth.
The FAO shops will be trialled next to the M&S gift shops and located within M&S Kids product areas.
As the retailer “continues to focus on offering families a great shopping experience, an experiential approach is being tested with magicians set to perform at two of the biggest stores (Stratford and Bluewater) every weekend in December to surprise and delight customers”, it added.
The company’s brands strategy has seen over 30 brands made available in its stores and webstore, helping it to offer “a wider selection within core categories but also introducing complementary categories where the retailer doesn’t have a full offer”. It said that “having this breadth of range is crucial for growth, with over 30% of M&S customers planning to purchase toys this Christmas”.
Neil Harrison, Director of Brands at M&S said, “Our brands strategy is all about giving customers even more reasons to shop with M&S – and that includes being more relevant, more often throughout the important festive season. At Christmas we want M&S to be the place customers turn to for great value stylish clothing, quality food and importantly special & different gifting – and a leading toy brand such as FAO Schwarz supports that mission, bringing a little extra magic to the M&S offer.”
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