So when is M and S actually going to improve?

(135 Posts)
Orangeanddemons Fri 31-Jan-14 12:53:49

Because it hasn't yet. They have the odd Cos type thing in Autograph, but the rest is dire, just dire. And the older girls is also dire. Drab, dull, boring safe and polyester.

Is it really going to ever up it's game?

FrancesFarmer Fri 31-Jan-14 13:15:51

Never, I would say. They're too much of a behemoth to make any substantial changes.

LadyVetinari Fri 31-Jan-14 13:36:25

I think they have improved, actually. I don't go in often, but I find more flattering and durable clothes in there than I do for the same money in other high street shops (as a slim, early 20s woman who likes a slightly bohemian smart casual look).

When I last went clothes shopping (Oct), Indigo Collection had beautiful skinny cords in navy, charcoal, and cranberry which have worn really well on me, plus lovely cord miniskirts in forest green and burgundy, and a few really pretty cardigans and scarves. I noticed some really nice scoop neck t-shirts in jewel colours when I walked through on my way to Sainsbury's last week, too. I also have a kick-ass houndstooth mini skirt which looks great with everything I own and never seems to look any older, a sharkfin grey blazer which looks fantastic with anything smart-casual, and a fuschia 1960s style suit which is great for looking formal but not too austere.

I always find that they have a few pairs of excellent shoes, too. I got some super-comfortable leather Mary Janes with Insolia for £30 two years ago, which still look new. I also have two pairs of almond toe court shoes from Autograph (also leather with Insolia) which were £45 each, and look fantastic two years on.

wools Fri 31-Jan-14 13:44:34

I agree with LadyVetinari. There are some real gems to be found in M&S amongst the dross but you really do have to search. Some of the shoes and handbags are top quality as are the pure wool trousers they stocked in Autumn. I also think their cashmere is very good quality for the price. I do agree with you about the older girls stuff though - dire! And as for Per Una - wtf?

Middleagedmotheroftwo Fri 31-Jan-14 13:49:47

I too like M&S, and can't wait to spend the �80 of gift vouchers for said shop which are currently burning a hole in my pocket - want to see how much weight I lose first though!

I can never find anything in store but often find things online that I think I will give a go and they usually are better than the crappy photographs online. I brought some lovely swing dresses and I guess you would call them skater style dresses, mainly plain. the swing dresses are a lovely thick jersey and drape nicely, dress down with boots, or flat ankle boots, or dress up with tights heels/shoeboots and statement jewellery.

nickEcave Fri 31-Jan-14 14:12:43

As a 4 foot 11 short arse I have to say I've got some nice petite trousers from Autograph in the past 6 months. Very heavy cotton slim leg ankle length with a bit of a sheen to them. M & S has been my go-to place for petite trousers for years. Having said that, I'm not sure I've bought a top from them in the past 10 years and as a 30G who M&S kitted out in 36C bras for years, I wouldn't go near the lingerie department on principle, even assuming there was something in there which would fit me!

francesdrake Fri 31-Jan-14 15:03:15

I agree with dont - the website really isn't helping. I've noticed the main pages have been revamped, and the mail-outs seem better but the actual photography of the products is astonishingly bad. The models look mortified half the time, the photographs are badly lit and unimaginatively shot, and the styling's awful: too-short trousers, wrong shoes, unflattering tops....

My local M&S is stocked with their derisory 'rural selection' of clothes (ie, the clothes Head Office thinks shoppers in the provinces want, mainly elasticated slacks and joggers) so the website is where I get my impression of M&S, and the place I'd buy from. I haven't, for ages.

RockMummy Fri 31-Jan-14 16:17:41

I bought a great olive green wool winter coat last year which has been lovely but not much else for ages. Glanced in recently but wasn' very impressed this season so far.

lookdeepintotheparka Fri 31-Jan-14 16:22:26

Both their store layout and the website are so crap so I usually give up looking for any gems amongst the rubbish! I just wish they would work out what their customers actually want instead of trying to be everything to everyone. When they do get it right it's great - but then they run out of sizes which should really tell them what customers do want to buy!!

It's the kids clothes designers that need the biggest kick up the backside imo - I don't want to dress my 6 year old girl like she's off for a night on the town hmm

newgirl Fri 31-Jan-14 16:28:09

I had amazing boots from m and s in autumn - perfect. Also liked lots of tops but didn't really need them. I agree re kids clothes - pricey for polyester - Surely they should be more like boden?

GeorginaWorsley Fri 31-Jan-14 16:30:59

Too much stuff IMO .
Racks upon racks of samey polyester 'tops',variations on a theme of black trousers,cardigans etc.
I think the ranges need streamlining and the colours tweaking,more classy neutrals,navy,grey,plus some on trend colours but not sickly lemon or pastel pink.
If they produced well cut wool trousers,good quality knitwear,tee shirts in soft cottons with flattering necklines and that don't stop at the most unflattering part of the body,they would be on to a winner.
Having said that I have had some fab footwear from there,plus some excellent denim.

agnesf Fri 31-Jan-14 16:32:11

I find their quality has deteriorated. I've got a pair of black work trousers I bought last year and they are already beginning to look worn and frayed around the bottom hem compared to a pair of blue work trousers I bought from them over 10 years ago (yes that's right although did have a few years of mat leave in there) and they are still going strong and look as dull good as ever.

Tried to buy some plainish work tops last month and the material is really thin and rubbish.

They used to be great basic affordable range for work clothes - range of styles/ colours and good quality but now they've got loads of stuff but its all flimsy and synthetic.

That place is deceptive, I think there's drugs in the air.

I picked up a navy tea dress with rabbits on it earlier - and an old (very old, like 80's) man reached to get it for his ancient wife who couldn't reach it as she was hunched over (not in some hunchback way, just really, really elderly)

So I nearly bought a geriatric tea dress with rabbits on it.

Orangeanddemons Fri 31-Jan-14 16:32:50

I used to be a childrenswear designer. I wish they'd let me sort out their childrenswear. Am sick of droopy beige stuff in there. And agree about their stuff looking like its designed for a night on the town. How they manage to make their childrenswear both trashy and frumpy at the same time is a feat indeed

newgirl Fri 31-Jan-14 16:35:47

Lol oranges - that's it! Frumpy and trashy and twice the price of hennes

harryhausen Fri 31-Jan-14 16:37:41

The only thing I must get in M&S are the seamless knickers for girls. My dd has almost an obsession with seams and labels and these are fabulous knickers that really fit and are wonderfully comfortable. My only issue is that they only ever seem to be available online. Their school uniform is great too (and I've tried all the supermarkets).

As for the womens dept - I stopped looking in there years ago. As a big boobed lady I became incensed that I couldn't buy anything remotely pretty beyond a G cup. I went to Bravissimo and never looked back. I guess my clothes sense just followed me.

I tend to look in White Stuff, Fatface etc now.

I would love to go back for wardrobe staples but I've lost confidence with them. My staples tend to come from Next now, or Sainsburys.

lookdeepintotheparka Fri 31-Jan-14 16:48:35

Yes definitely agree re quality of the affordable basics and workwear. I used to wear the same m&s basic t shirts and trousers to work for years on end! Now they hang all weird and don't wash well.

Definitely needs you in there to sort out the kidswear Orangesanddemons - some nice fabrics and no unnecessary sequins, studs or one direction logos would be great!!

alemci Fri 31-Jan-14 16:49:41

some things are ok. I buy the odd pair of trousers from per una as I find most trousers so uncomfortable and they fit ok also tights, socks and knickers.

I like indigo but often the thing you want has sold out.

alot of their stuff is tumble dryer safe.

nancy75 Fri 31-Jan-14 16:51:24

They need to overhaul everything.

In the winter they brought in very expensive stuff that was ok but ridiculously priced for m&s. They have a coat at the moment in their best of British collection that is £400. if I spend that on I coat I won't be buying it from m&s, I would go somewhere like jaeger.

This year they did some ok cashmere and then stuck a bloody dog on the front! who wants to spend £120 on a comedy jumper?

Then there is the other stuff.

The people that design per una need sacking. There is no saving it.

Again in the winter collection Autograph did some ok stuff BUT they then covered it all in scraps of pleather and bits of Lacey stuff that looked like it had come from the floor of a cheap knickers factory.

The shops need better visual merchandising

The website - even the models look pissed off at wearing the stuff.

Yes I agree that the older girls range is awful. I get plenty of lovely stuff for younger dd in the young girls range but my 7yr old I struggle, beyond basic packs of leggings and socks. I buy the odd thing such as star print denim shirt for her. We did buy some lovely sandals and glitter pumps last summer too.

MoonHare Fri 31-Jan-14 17:00:01

I love M&S as an institution and try to shop there but struggle often to find anything I like, for me or my children and my recent experience of customer service there was atrocious.

They will only improve when they start listening to and acting on customer feedback. Which they blatantly do not since threads such as this crop up regularly.

There is so much free market research for them on MN they don't need their own executives.

FFS -Take heed of threads such as this Marc Bolland!!!

lottieandmia Fri 31-Jan-14 17:00:30

Lately I do not like their underwear - it is very uncomfortable indeed. The bras hurt. I bought a new bra from Freya and I will not be going back to M&S.

The girls stuff has the odd gem but the ranges of clothes are all over the place and difficult to get a feel for what goes together.

I had to laugh at Laurie's post 'there must be drugs in the air' I was looking at the nightwear in there last week and left when I realised all the other customers looking at the same stuff as me were over 75! I have a great dressing gown from there though.

RedToothBrush Fri 31-Jan-14 17:01:59

They need to start by listening.

Given the number of complaints about their bra sizing on MN, they should have got the message - but they haven't. Once upon a time their reputation was all about their underwear. Now its not.

And the trouble with that, is it puts women off using the rest of the store too. Their shoppers just get older.

So until they start to do something about their bra problem, I don't think they will improve as its reflective of the stores lack of connection with who they should be attracting.

In theory they should be direct competitors to John Lewis. You only have to start comparing the two to see what the problems really are.

herethereandeverywhere Fri 31-Jan-14 17:14:05

It's too full of artificial fibre these days. If you walk through too quickly you fear seeing sparks coming off stuff.

Endless polyester granny blouses (whether 'Autograph' or 'classic' for the actual granny). Knitwear that ages everyone at least 20 years. Basics like tshirts and vests getting cheaper and cheaper but feeling it! I don't want to pay £5 for something that gets shorter and wider in a colour favoured by pound shops. I'd pay £15 if I had the confidence it would stay the shape it was bought and in a classic pallette (cream, white, beige, brown, navy, black, red - perhaps introduce 2 additional seasonal colours per season - this can never be mint green if things are to be improved).

Is Per Una still making everything with freyed edges/crumpled fabrics/scrunched up or wonky hems/ weird craft-project looking corsages and a myriad of stretch-lace in colours that don't go together (turquoise, white and green, probably with a bit of orange and cerise thrown in)?

The place makes me depressed just thinking about it!

HelloBoys Fri 31-Jan-14 17:26:39

I used to go there what in the 90s/2000 mark and picked up a few gems (a snake print top that both me and a friend got) and their underwear and nightwear was 2nd to none.

I got my mum some nightwear for Xmas which is nice but I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole. They changed their great nude tights to different ones which laddered immediately etc.

My mum used to like Per Una until they got a bit creative and put big flower applique on everything. The Limited dresses can be fab (print ones) but now whenever I look in my local M&S Limited section there's nothing that grabs me.

They need to concentrate on proper fabrics, wool, cotton etc and good designs. And their childrenswear is dire. even the home wear - Next at Home and John Lewis do it better and cheaper.

Aquelven Fri 31-Jan-14 18:16:15

The smaller branches are dire. Why do they only seem to stock the worst of the worst, frumpy frocks, the boring collection range, a bit of droopy Per Una.
Occasionally I've had cause to visit a city centre branch & was amazed to see they do stock a few decent, wearable things but the small branch in our nearest small country town would be better sticking to food.

LittleBabyPigsus Fri 31-Jan-14 19:08:17

The plus size range is awful - hardly any natural fibres and 90% boring and black. I can wear black but what about all the people who can't? And it's only available online. Seriously they're happy to have Per Una abominations in store but not a plain jersey dress just because it's over a size 20?

I love the beauty department and it's really improved (the makeup is largely very good and is bunny friendly, and there's a great fragrance range now), so why can't the clothes improve too?

RabbitRabbit78 Fri 31-Jan-14 19:17:02

Very, very occasionally they have something lovely, but I'm fed up of trawling through the whole store every season for ken gem every 2 years or so! Also, some of the staff who dress the mannequins do an absolutely shocking job (generally smaller stores, the one in our big town is fine).

carrie74 Fri 31-Jan-14 19:26:45

[slightly off tangent] I bumped into some buyers today and interrupted their conversation blush to ask them to feed back to the powers that be that the website is awful! with the photos making everything look horrible. They informed me the website is being re-launched very shortly. Watch this space...

LittleBabyPigsus Fri 31-Jan-14 19:29:42

Yes the website is dire! Although the Boots one is too actually, lots of big high street shops have shocking websites.

KatherinaMinola Fri 31-Jan-14 19:39:29

I loathe it. Everything PP have said is right - too much stuff, nearly all of it tat and if there ever happens to be anything you want (rare) they don't have it in your size.

I too think the Indigo range has some great stuff - I've had some truly beautiful things for DD from that range. And obviously the food is nice. The homewares are OK but ill-stocked and overpriced. But everything else is dire - nasty hideously-gendered children's clothing, staff that don't know the stock, poor customer service, the most godawful police-cell photography on the website which makes even nice clothes look terrible.

And the sizing - last time I tried to buy an item for myself there I ordered a size 6 dress and you could have fitted two of me in there.

Just do basics - not 300 items - and stock them IN ALL THE SIZES THAT YOU MAKE. Natural fibres. Neutral colours. Regular sizing. Flattering cuts. Normal necklines and hemlines. Enough with the heart-shaped buttons and horrific appliques. Or just let me come over there and I'll sort it out for you.

Twinklestein Fri 31-Jan-14 20:06:48

I bought my mum their cashmere cardigans from the winter collection in 5 diff colours and they're great. Nice colours, have washed well. No complaints.

I also bought a dress at Christmas shock not bought M&S clothes since I was a kid!

Twinklestein Fri 31-Jan-14 20:07:37

their ^^

TheGirlOnTheLanding Fri 31-Jan-14 20:22:35

I got an M&S gift voucher from BIL at Christmas (was vaguely insulted that was the voucher of choice but that's a separate issue!) and I still haven't managed to find anything I want despite three visits to two different stores. I may end up getting pkain white towels for the house which is frankly depressing. Especially as I could get cheaper, similar quality in Tesco.

LittleBabyPigsus Fri 31-Jan-14 20:38:16

TheGirl I'd spend it all in the beauty section tbh. Monotheme perfume, Nuxe and REN skincare, Autograph makeup (their foundations are fab for palefaces like me).

lookdeepintotheparka Fri 31-Jan-14 21:15:28

The beauty section has vastly improved I do agree - some great make up and fragrances. Monotheme vanilla perfume is just gorgeous!

polyhymnia Fri 31-Jan-14 22:44:15

Answer to OP is 'never' I think.

Small stores truly dreadful. Our local one ( though in affluent London suburb ) makes me lose will to live!
Very little in bigger ones - so much horrid synthetic material and so many cheap nasty colours and patterns.

Some Autograph tights and some cashmere OK. Beauty much improved though prefer Space NK.

Used to get some good basics from Autograph Weekend up to a couple of years ago but they are long gone and most of Autograph seems to be going towards Per Una fabrics and design. Indigo seems mostly dreary wispy florals .

I no longer shop there - too frumpy and trashy as another poster has stated. Basics are overpriced and dated and the niche ranges used to have lovely stuff but don't now. I get my work wear from Sainsburys now, excellent quality, on trend and good choice.

Kids wear - forget it. Bought some macs for our DC a few years back and nothing like that in since to get bigger sizes. Boden or jojo Maman bebe better.

And homeware. Dull, dull dull.

Twinkleandbunty Sat 01-Feb-14 00:25:24

I want to shop in M&S but echo what other posters have said about rows of uninspiring blouses and poorly cut clothes in cheap materials.

Having said that though, I did get a couple of great bargains in the sale recently - a lovely pair of Autograph shoe-boots for £20 and a large bottle of Fragonnard eu de toilette for £12.50!

Mumto3dc Sat 01-Feb-14 10:08:40

I agree with pps, M&S seems lost.

I used to buy their underwear and socks but last time I bought socks I actually took them back as they were such poor quality. The quality of the primark socks I bought instead was much better and IMO that's one of their big problems.

Lots of people would pay a premium for good quality but are v peed off to pay a premium for rubbish quality. The same goes for school uniforms. I wish they'd stop looking for cheaper fabrics and stick with what wears well even if it's a bit more expensive.

But I did get some great tights - they look good and don't fall down and fit well.

MorrisZapp Sat 01-Feb-14 10:17:47

My little boy is 3, and I must admit I do really like the stuff they have for his age. The problem is more that the store (Edinburgh Princes Street) is truly unfit for purpose and the kids clothes are located in what is essentially a corridor. It's so off putting.

With women's wear, I wish to god they'd grasp that a tshirt with a boat neck is not and never will be 'perfect', unless you want the world to see your bra straps. I see these tshirts on the rack in size 20 etc and think really, women that size are wearing boat neck tshirts and their tits are staying up how, exactly? Magic?

YouHaveBeenOutbid Sat 01-Feb-14 10:35:02

Agree with you Morris about the Princes St store. It's a ridiculous layout with varying levels and hidden lifts. Hard to navigate with a pram or someone who can't manage steps. The food hall toilets have to be smelt to be believed!

I haven't bought anything in there in a long time but make the occasional pilgrimage to return unsuitable presents blush

OOAOML Sat 01-Feb-14 10:35:07

The good thing about Princes St of course is that Per Una are in their own section of the shop with their own door, so you don't have to see it all unless you want to. The bad part is the excessively large collection of black polyester trousers.

MorrisZapp Sat 01-Feb-14 10:46:54

If its raining and I'm approaching from the west (like the witch that I am) I duck straight in the first door and nip through the bedazzling wonder of Per Una. One day the weather'll change and I'll be stuck there for all eternity smile

OOAOML Sat 01-Feb-14 10:54:30

Oh lord yes the food hall toilets are grim! The ones upstairs aren't much better either. Thankfully John Lewis are nearby with their infinitely better facilities.

Frozenatchristmas Sat 01-Feb-14 11:34:05

My local stores are either dunfermline or perth. Both not great but I will say, I find their shoes and boots to be very good. Tights are good and I got a really lovely skirt to go with thick tights and knee high or shoe boots just before Christmas.

Yes, a lot of their stuff is awful and yes, I agree their basics need improved on. I'd also spend a bit more for good basics but I suppose, like Dunfermline, they are competing with primark which is directly over the road.

I have not bight a bra from there is years preferring Jenners or Bravissimo in Edinburgh.

Frozenatchristmas Sat 01-Feb-14 11:37:41

And I agree, there is lack of though in their clothes and the sizes they produce. As you say, a boat neck top will probably look nice on smaller sizes but no lady above a 18 will ever wear one.

Bigger ladies want good quality fabrics with v or cowl necks and, do you hear me marks and spencer, SLEEVES.

polyhymnia Sat 01-Feb-14 11:45:47

Some of us 'bigger ladies' (though personally I'm a woman, not a lady)actually hate cowl necks on top of our large busts! The simpler necklines, the better - V or moderate scoop is ideal.

Keep it simple - and good quality - is just something M and S can't grasp, though.

Don't find their shoes good enough quality either.

cocobongo Sat 01-Feb-14 12:08:58

What is it with the M&S toilets? They almost universally stink! Sauchiehall St in Glasgow is particularly bad. If other large department stores can manage to have decent, clean toilets, then why can't M&S?

And agreed with all the points people have made. Clothes awful- awful styles, colours and materials. I used to like Limited Collection & Autograph, but they both look frumpy now.

Their girls' clothes are terrible too. When my DD was around 1, I got loads of beautiful clothes. They used to make really lovely Autograph party dresses for reasonable prices. But now, everything looks so cheap and flimsy.

LittleBabyPigsus Sat 01-Feb-14 12:48:46

Yy to boat necklines being awful for bigger busts - all I want is a simple 3/4 sleeve cotton t-shirt with a moderate scoop or v-neck, that washes well. In nice, plain, non-fading colours with no twee shit or weird patterns. Apparently that is too much to ask for.

lottieandmia Sat 01-Feb-14 12:58:07

But I think M&S vouchers are ok as you can use them to buy wine. Their wine is good IMO.

polyhymnia Sat 01-Feb-14 13:38:28

Must agree also about the toilets. They all smell vile.

I don't even think much of their wine. Always seems to be a gap between the stuff that's too cheap and cheerful and stuff that's very pricy and - if I were going to pay those prices - I'd want to get from a proper wine seller . Very little in the £7.00 - £8.00 ish range we usually buy from.

dementedma Sat 01-Feb-14 15:28:54

Got £50 vouchers as a gift recently and hot footed it there yesterday eagerly. Bought wine,a ready meal and some bath stuff...still have the rest of the vouchers sad.
Wanted a shirt for work but even with vouchers resent paying 25 quid for a dull,stiff,scratchy one.
Got a lovely soft, well fitting one from Asda of all p!aces today for £12

MoonHare Sat 01-Feb-14 15:31:08

Hello Marc Bolland?? Hello???

No? Thought not.

intheround Sat 01-Feb-14 15:40:17

I buy 4-5 basic shirts for under my work uniform, each year. That's about it.
Their kids welly socks are good.
I use online shop for school uniform but it's only got stuff in stock June or July . Goodness help you if your child grows during the year.
Our local store has a massive bias to girls clothes cf boys.

intheround Sat 01-Feb-14 15:41:13

Tshirts not shirts!

nikkihollis Sat 01-Feb-14 17:44:53

I went in yesterday. Haven't been there for ages. I'd seen a waterproof kagoul type parka online that looked really nice (like a Zara design). Anyhow I found the coat section but it wasn't there. I was about to go, when I walked past a mannequin near the door that had it on. So I went to ask an assistant. She sent me back to the coat section I'd been to. So I asked another assistant who went to look at the mannequin and then confessed she had no idea where it was. She had to ask someone else! In the end she located it and said it was really useful because now if anybody else asked for it, she'd know where they were! Good grief! The layout looks like it's been done by someone with a nasty hangover and who is beyond caring.

francesdrake Sat 01-Feb-14 18:08:14

interestingly I was on a testing panel recently, for the newly designed 'shirts for bigger busts'. They sent me a unflattering and badly thought-out-for-bigger-busts shirt to try on, I gave them loads and loads and loads of feedback, sent pics, etc... and never heard another thing. Which more or less sums up the common customer relationship with M&S - they say they want help to change, we rush to give it, then... nada.

LostInMusic Sat 01-Feb-14 18:31:25

I try to support M&S as I do feel some loyalty towards them - mostly, I think, because of their BUAV approval. However, their complacency just irritates me - they'd only have to take a panel of 50 people off of the street to find out where they're going wrong...
I am a massive fan of their beauty ranges - but, almost every product that I've loved and that's had dozens of glowing reviews has been discontinued or out of stock for months on end. I've given up looking.
As far as clothes are concerned, I think that the supermarkets are their biggest rival now, as you can get much better quality for a fraction of the price. I've actually got a gorgeous little black sweater with a deep v front and back that I bought from M&S 15 years ago - I've washed it hundreds of times and it still looks good. The cardigans that I bought last year look baggy and faded?!
To win back my custom, they need to offer quality, well-cut classic pieces in pretty colours. I'd happily pay more for that.

Dappydongle Sat 01-Feb-14 18:36:26

They don't even get their tights right anymore.

HelloBoys Sat 01-Feb-14 18:47:10

Dappy I agree with you re their rights they're awful how and even if you comment on their review section nothing gets done so they've lost me as a regular tights buyer.

scarlet76 Sat 01-Feb-14 18:52:46

The smallish store in the town where I work is crap. I think you need to visit one of their flagship stores to root out the decent buys.
And I do think there is the odd decent thing to be had. At 5ft, I really like their petite fit skinny jeans/jeggings. I also have a nice petite fit cashmere sweater from there. Autograph is good for leather footwear and bags. Limited collection has the odd decent thing too.

If you want to find the very definition of soul destroying, its an M&S Outlet Store.

Conversely, is it bad that I really want to see the bunny tea dress?

alemci Sat 01-Feb-14 21:02:39

cocobono the toilets do stink in the M&S branch where I shop.

20 years ago their stuff was good but now it is mediocre balong with the quality of most of the high street.

LittleBabyPigsus Sun 02-Feb-14 04:03:39

BHS has much better tights than M&S which is madness. Btw BHS opaques are very comfortable and roomy, as are Sainsburys supersoft opaques. Leagues better than M&S.

Chottie Sun 02-Feb-14 06:08:02

The toilets in M&S Bromley are dire too. Dirty, no loo paper, nappy bins overflowing and smelly. You have to be really desperate to use them sad

Chottie Sun 02-Feb-14 06:17:38

I hate having to wade through acres of beige shapeless jumpers and navy polyester clothes.

lalouche Sun 02-Feb-14 06:26:32

Used to buy knickers there but have stopped as quality now so rubbish. When you even get that wrong m and s you really have to start wondering why you bother!

merrymouse Sun 02-Feb-14 06:39:07

I think the bigger question is how have they managed to sell such dodgy product for so long?

Only reasons I can think of are:

1) safe environment
2) easy returns policy
3) accessible.

Basically, they aren't scary.

GiraffesAndButterflies Sun 02-Feb-14 06:40:15

Their clothing for babies is pretty good. The girls in my NCT group nearly ended up in matching outfits last autumn, we all liked the range so much! And I've a very cute pair of dungarees that I can't wait for dd to grow into. Crucially they don't rely on girls=pink, which is refreshing.

LightastheBreeze Sun 02-Feb-14 06:41:20

I like the Per Una jeans and I always ditch the belt. They come up quite high at the waist and do a longer length, also seem good quality. I managed to pick up a couple of pairs in the sale for less than half price grin. I also get boots and shoes from there and the occasional knitwear. I don't like the tops much though but I did get some nice cords from there for £18. i don't usually pay full price and make use of the 20% off days.

happywithlife60 Sun 02-Feb-14 08:56:23

I agree about the synthetic materials. 2 sloppy jumpers I bought last autumn actually brought me out in hives I was so itchy. I thought I'd caught fleas!! Also agree that they should do classics in classic colours. Superb black trousers, fab white shirts, cashmere, cotton, silk etc I've lost count of the number of times I've gone in looking to buy and come out depressed and empty handed. Come on marks and spensive as my little girl used to accidentally call it.

wools Sun 02-Feb-14 09:05:06

Happywithlife60 - I bought a great pair of black trousers there in Autumn. They are 100% wool and cost £50 - a real gem of a find and I believe they still stock them. Clearly the website makes them look really rubbish though.

JosephineBornapart Sun 02-Feb-14 09:33:21

I just feel depressed when coming out of their stores.

The only one I ever use is the flagship one at Marble Arch. It's vast, but I get overwhelmed by the displays and all the different ' categories'- labels within labels.

Why can't they just have a section for trousers, jumpers, dresses, coats, instead of this silly idea of 'Indigo Autograph, per Una,...

none of the categories makes a strong individual statement, so it's meaningless and confusing.

If for instance I want a jumper I don't want to search the entire store, I want all the jumpers together. I don't want to have to stop and wonder if i'm an Autograph woman, or an Indigo woman!!!! FFS.

bunnymother Sun 02-Feb-14 09:38:08

"I don't want to have to stop and wonder if i'm an Autograph woman, or an Indigo woman!!!!" Ha ha - I agree! I'm hoping I am more autograph than per una, though...

LittleBabyPigsus Sun 02-Feb-14 09:45:01

lalouche agree re knickers, I get mine in Sainsburys now, very comfy. When Sainsburys does knickers better than an actual clothes shop....!

JenBehavingBadly Sun 02-Feb-14 09:48:39

The clothes for younger girls in M&S are brilliant. Not logo'd tarted down shuts you get anywhere else the moment they move out of the baby stuff.

JosephineBornapart Sun 02-Feb-14 09:57:56

The thing is bunny in the MA store is that there can be an escalator's difference between the ranges so you end up exhausted ( hopeless air con too) traipsing between floors.

M&S- just put all the bloody trousers together and stop pigeon-holing us into these ridiculous labels within labels.

AndTwoBits Sun 02-Feb-14 10:04:28

I went in to their Grafton st. branch in Dublin last week hoping to purchase a navy wool blazer. They had one navy blazer. It wasn't what i was looking for. It was very much a work style blazer, and the fabric felt cheap. I wanted an off duty one for teaming with jeans and bretons etc . No such luck! That branch is huge, it's over 3 floors and they had one navy blazer!!
Same with their cashmere. I wanted a crew neck plain cashmere sweater in either biscuit, navy, charcoal or black. Without buttons or sequins, embellishments at all in fact, or slogans. It was mission impossible.
If they cant get the basics right they are being very foolish.

AndTwoBits Sun 02-Feb-14 10:05:08

Oh and the toilets stink in that one too, so smelly toilets in Uk and Ireland!!

MomentForLife Sun 02-Feb-14 10:23:08

I love the school uniform, all of DD's pinafores have looked like new when out grown. Usually get a good winter coat from younger girls and have started to buy school shoes and boots too. The leather and quality is better than anything she's had from clarks.

Find it hard to pick out a nice outfit for DD, although indigo is usually ok. You find the odd nice thing but a lot of it is quite gharish or weird colours.

My biggest issue with M&S is that for womens clothes, the prices go up but quality goes down. And sizing is off.

Orangeanddemons Sun 02-Feb-14 11:10:32

Agree that the younger girls and babies wear is lovely. But the older girls is dire, just dire. My ds is 7 but takes age 10-11. nasty how to turn the current trend for textured knits into a frumpy mess both man made fibres of course. Sick of them talking about modal like its some big deal. It's just viscose by another name

Orangeanddemons Sun 02-Feb-14 11:14:25

Meaning of course the garments not the models! I used to be a children swear designer, the younger age groups were always easier to get right that the older ones. However the buyers used to think that this age group wanted to dress like teenagers, which we now is a load of bollocks. My 7 year old isn't going to dress like that

hollyisalovelyname Sun 02-Feb-14 11:23:03

I think they just have TOO MUCH. Too many collections. Too much choice in each collection. Cluttered

wildfig Sun 02-Feb-14 11:53:33

I think M&S has shot itself in the foot by trying to compete with the supermarkets on price and the high street stores on quality fashion both at the same time. They can't do both. And ironically, they have the only shopper demographic in the country that's willing to pay more for quality basics... and yet still they persist on filling their shops with cheap fabrics and frumperie.

It's like the entire country is trying to stage an intervention.

IlonaRN Sun 02-Feb-14 12:01:23

I hate that the sizing is so WRONG. If I see a picture on their website of an item I like the look of, I want to know that I can trust their size guide. I.e. if the website size guide says my measurements make me a size 10, then I expect the size 10 item that turns up to fit me like the picture on the website, not be 2inches too large all round!

JosephineBornapart Sun 02-Feb-14 12:48:00

I think M&S and Next have trodden the same path to fashion faux pas- for me anyway.

Years ago - 30- Next was up market, and used to include fabric swatches with their catalogue and most of the clothes were natural fabrics. It was affordable for me then but only just.

Now both M&S and Next are dominated by manmade fibres though if you look hard M&S do have some real wool etc.

Next seems to have the 20-35 demography in mind, whereas M&S seems to cater for the 50+ age group ( that's me and I hate all of it.)

It's disappointing because all we are left with - if you want natural fabric and a bit of style- are the more expensive ranges like Jigsaw, Reiss, and so on.

hollyisalovelyname Sun 02-Feb-14 14:59:02

Next and M&S both do cheap, nasty shoes.
We seem to be paying much more for clothes, shoes and bags in nasty fabrics/ pvc from factories (sweatshops) in the East. WHY?
Are cotton/ wool and leather too expensive?

hollyisalovelyname Sun 02-Feb-14 15:00:06

Sorry I posted too soon... Not to mention the human cost in those factories

Viviennemary Sun 02-Feb-14 15:13:25

I think their biggest problem is not getting their supplies of sizes right. They always run out of the more popular sizes or so it seems. Until the get that right which they never ever seem to do it's all a bit of a waste of time.

JosephineBornapart Sun 02-Feb-14 15:52:49

Agree their s tock control and supply chain is useless!!!!

The minute they have a 'winner' it flies out in sizes 8 and 10. MY sizes!

Same with bras. I find their bras fine as long as you fit yourself but try getting the popular sizes when they have a nice glam bra - 32C, 32D - not on your nelly- all fly out the shop or online too.

polyhymnia Sun 02-Feb-14 15:55:04

Far, far too much cheap nasty stuff, whether in shoes or clothes . On rare occasion I do find something I want to try, there are usually availability issues for my size.

I actually saw a couple of really nice things today. Unfortunately their sizing was insane - could have fit five of me into the 12s and I couldn't be bothered to go back out for other sizes, as was so hot in the changing room.

GinOnTwoWheels Sun 02-Feb-14 17:31:16

They never have the 12s and 14s in stock either.

Far too many of each style though. Search their website for dresses (260), trousers (216) and tops (535). Surely a hundred of each item would give us more than enough choice.

And I see that they are now doing a Plus range in sizes 20-28. Now if I was a size 20+, I'm sure that seeing the clothes aimed at me on a tall and toned size 16 maximum would make me want to buy it. Or what about this, which I quite like. I bet it looks even better from the back with all the clips holding it in to the size 10 model.

LittleBabyPigsus Sun 02-Feb-14 18:21:35

Tbh that first model is about the average size for high street plus size ranges. Even Simply Be etc have similarly-sized models - in fact I'm pretty sure that first blonde model is a model for Simply Be too! It's pretty crap.

I'm more miffed that the Plus range is entirely online-only, yet Per Una shit is proudly displayed in store. It's a reasonable if boring plus-size range, why not get it in store and ditch the other collections, just making it like other shops and having regular/petite/plus sections. But that would be too sensible hmm

EndOfThePier Sun 02-Feb-14 19:43:16

Totally out of their depth re online shopping. Complete balls up trying to sell into two different markets, EU & UK, don't seem to have a clue. It's not hard - all their competitors are doing it. Wise up M & S!

PiratePanda Sun 02-Feb-14 20:02:26

I disagree with everyone who thinks their cashmere is OK or (heaven forfend) even "good". It's cheap, shit, poor-quality short-fibre cashmere that pills when you breathe on it and looks good for one wear. And it'snot cheap to match, either.

I now buy even my underwear from John Lewis. Speaks volumes.

LostInMusic Sun 02-Feb-14 20:22:32

Their work suits have also gone down hill massively. About 8-10 years ago, I used to buy all my work suits from their petite range - they were all a little bit quirky (yes....really?!), washed fantastically and couldn't be beaten IMO. I managed to buy one petite suit from them last year - it's no where near as stylish (bought in desperation, really) and was pilled and with all the buttons falling off within a few months. I don't even look any more.

Yes, the suits have gone downhill a lot. I don't mind their cashmere.

This looks nice and is silk - too long for me though, and a bad colour.

wildfig Mon 03-Feb-14 17:44:54

Today's M&S sales tweet pretty much sums up for me how utterly out of touch they are with their market - it's a brilliant white jacket that looks like something a lab technician would wear, and they think it'll 'see you through spring'. WHO is buying white coats from M&S? And in this weather? Apart from Liz Jones?


Show me a pretty belted mac, or a neat swing coat in cheerful colours. Not something that'll be into Sketchleys after one wear.

Another one frustrated with m and s.

Their bottoms seem ok (jeans, jeggings, basic skirts, there are even some nice shorts that'll do for the summer) but I have a wardrobe of well fitting bottoms and no decent tops to wear with them.

Went today specifically to look for tops. I have lost loads of weight recently and have no tops that fit. M and s is full of tops in garish colours, with pictures of animals or over the top embellishments. There were loads of those tops where the back is longer than the front so I tried a couple on. The size 8s were ok but absolutely swamped me so I couldn't buy any. I am definitely bigger than an 8. Worst of all I took a quite plain looking top into the changing room and when I got there noticed it had a row of hideous gold studs up the back, I looked like a bloody dinosaur!

Frustratingly I walked out with a pair of very nice jeans only £19.50 but no tops.

merrymouse Tue 04-Feb-14 17:29:37

The last time I was in m and s it seemed that all the stuff for 7 year old girls was covered in pictures of 1 direction.

It shouldn't be easier to find a plain long sleeved top for a child in h&m or Zara than m&s. at the other end of the scale john lewis wasn't much more expensive.

Also it took about 5 minutes to find the socks.

noddyholder Tue 04-Feb-14 17:31:25

I really like it atm. have bought a few things from the limited edition grey skinnies and a grey silk t shirt. Was in there yesterday and lots of nice shirts and a few jackets

Oh god yes to the navigational hellhole that is Edinburgh Princes St store. Absolutely diabolical. The underwear section in there is a sea of blandness too, beige central. And that's before we mention their fitter who was falling out of her own bra

Allinafankle Tue 04-Feb-14 18:44:07

I go through the Bluewater branch quite often and despair at all the dull dull colours and styles. What always gets me about that particular store is they have a mirror at the side of the pay desk with a column in front of it and no room to move to look in it. confused
I've never been a fan of M&S shoes as their sizing is odd and never fits me but I used to be able to find something in clothing that I liked but it's getting rarer and rarer. Like one of the earlier posters I'm in desperate need of some new tops but I'll just need to look elsewhere I think.

MrsUnderwood Wed 05-Feb-14 09:34:36

Their baby girls clothing is really beautiful and not too reliant on pink, but I've not bought and adult clothing from them in ages- the last pair of cords I got went horribly baggy around the arse after a few washes. And I don't get the labels-within-labels either- I haven't got the time to comb the whole shop just to look for a skirt I like!

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 05-Feb-14 14:30:11

I know people who think per una's lovely. sad

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 05-Feb-14 14:34:32

Some bits of the Indigo section are quite nice - but not nice enough, or any cheaper, to make me want to go and do any shopping in M&S. Why would you, when at best some bits of Indigo are vaguely comparable with all the stuff in other shops, where you don't have to queue round the block?

They're also shit at having sizes in - particularly small. There are rows and rows and ROWS of black tights - but they're all medium and large; some nice-ish jumpers, but mainly in a size 16 and above. Not that there shouldn't be those sizes, but it seems disproportionate.

PottedPlant Thu 06-Feb-14 10:49:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

alemci Mon 10-Feb-14 15:31:13

perhaps an M&S employee reads the thread as the loos smelt fragrant in my local branch today.

I also received very good customer service at the return counter today. smile

AliceInSandwichLand Mon 10-Feb-14 17:52:18

A few weeks ago i went to M and S and found a sort of Scandinavian earth mother-ish shirt with a pattern of little flowers and birds on it, which I liked so much that I bought two of it. This is, however, the first item I have managed to buy there for ages. I keep trying to buy basic jeans to fit a small waisted big hipped short size 12-14, but they all gape at the waist. The thing that winds me up most, though, is the underwear, and especially how they won't do bra fittings without an appointment even if they aren't busy. The last twice I've wanted a bra fitting for me or a daughter we've gone down the road to House of Fraser and got fitted at once with no trouble and spent shedloads of money there - surely they must lose loads of business with this attitude?

tobiasfunke Mon 10-Feb-14 18:27:45

I bought 3 bras recently. One had one cup that was too small by about 3 sizes- the cheeky fecking assistant told me I should've tried it on first. The other two lasted 2 wears and 6 wears respectively. In both the underwire broke in the middle. They lasted less than 2 months. I took the wire out of one and it was so ridiculously thin.

T shirts are too short then shrink upways and bag outways.

My 74 year old mother and MIL who are M &S stalwarts have given up.

They are still putting ok clothes through the bling machine and ruining them.
DS is 5 and the odd thing I've ever bought for him shrinks and/or goes bobbly.
I used to despair now I just can't believe they are still trading.

hollyisalovelyname Mon 10-Feb-14 21:39:14

Fluffycloudland do tell us.
Who could possibly like Per Una?
Their designers smile

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 10-Feb-14 21:42:42

I darent. Per Una is said with a nod of the head too.

Eliza22 Tue 11-Feb-14 08:26:46

Knickers are great. Fodd's excellent....I have a 13 yr old who only eats M&S grin

Bras are not good... Clothing generally frumpy (still) IMO

Eliza22 Tue 11-Feb-14 08:27:22

Food. Food, damn it!

polyhymnia Tue 11-Feb-14 08:43:09

Food has some very good points. Fruit and veg consistently good. Some of their salads good too.and basics such as freshly squeezed OJ and bacon.

But they tend to the bland - eg, cheeses very boring and untasty - and most of their stuff is ready meals of various kinds and my DH won't eat ready meals of any kind!

KristinaM Tue 11-Feb-14 08:50:39

I have no idea who their demographic is. Like many others on this thread I'm in my 50s and the only things I buy there are food ( occasionally ) and some school uniform.

I just checked my wardrobe ( for the purposes of this post ) and found one pair of M&s shoes from about 5 years ago and some knickers of a smilar vintage . That's it. Nothing else.

LittleBearPad Tue 11-Feb-14 08:56:12

I could feel myself actually getting cross with them last week when I was in there. There was absolutely nothing. And I was in the Marble Arch store so ostensibly their flagship. I want decent basics for work. I do not want v neck sweaters in various shades of horrible pink and cashmere sweaters with 'love' written in red diamanté.
I bought knickers and tights.
And don't get me started on the poor woman looking for maternity tights. Nude only and in about two sizes. If there's one thing you should be able to get in M&S - it's tights. Grrrrrr

The food is good, however everything else leaves a lot to be desired. What I want to know is who exactly is Per Una aimed at? The only person that I know who buys any of it is my 86 yr old grandma when she's wanting to look funky grin

Unfortunately M & S want to be all things to all people and fall short of pleasing anyone in the clothing department. I just wish that they would go back to making good quality basics in decent colours and leave the lilac, sugared almond pink and powder blue behind.

Tis a pity as they are doing far better than most companies at being a responsible retailer

teta Tue 11-Feb-14 09:24:19

The only things I've bought recently are the multi pack of lace edged Brazilians.They are so skimpy compared to previous ones bought there.Sainsburys are much better.Bra(couldn't find my size so had to get a bigger size).Stretched dramatically and now straps keep on falling down on the tightest setting.Why are all the bras b and c when according to the bra intervention most people are at least d cup(if small) and lower than a 36 band.I could only find d cups in 36 and above band size.

LegoCaltrops Tue 11-Feb-14 10:06:54

Teta - it's so they don't have to stock as many sizes, it keeps their costs down. Also, someone on here once suggested that the sight of any cup size bigger than a D might be deemed offensive to some of the M&S customers... grin

wildfig Tue 11-Feb-14 11:17:40

The Rosie for Autograph undies are nice.
The Cut Flowers room diffusers are nice.
Everything else in my local M&S is so bland, I can't even tell you what's in there - my brain registers it as 'slacks for my mum... bootcut mum jeans... Bet Lynch leopardprint faux wrap dress...' and skids straight past.

Mind you, the Marcel Wanders range is completely, joyfully bonkers and is either a dare or an EU tax loss initiative.

Looking at the clothes I've bought recently, the typical Autograph 'staples' - plain blue t-shirt, cocoon coat, black skirt, black dress - have all come from the Mary Portas range at HoF. Most of that range makes you look like a Mary Portas impersonator, but the basics are good quality and well made and very cheap in the sale.

PottedPlant Tue 11-Feb-14 11:38:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Eliza22 Tue 11-Feb-14 12:46:58

grin PottedPlant, that's probably why I like the food so's all ready, already! I'm a seriously shite cook. I missed something in the gene pool when it came to kitchen skills so, I often buy their stuff and team it with veggies. Those things you buy wrapped in bacon or with a lattice topped pastry thingy being favourites. My DH would leave home if I didn't. He's a great cook but often away. I can make mash, but my son only eats M&S ready prepared mash which makes my own mum cringe. He has Aspergers though, so he's "allowed" a few foibles!

Allinafankle Tue 11-Feb-14 18:40:51
wildfig Tue 11-Feb-14 18:42:21

That is majestically 1996.

zoemaguire Tue 11-Feb-14 18:50:59

And nearly 80 quid!!!!! Jeez, who designs this stuff?!

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 11-Feb-14 19:03:34

I had a skirt in a similar pattern in....1994!

OOAOML Tue 11-Feb-14 20:40:27

My eyes!shock shock

gindrinker Tue 11-Feb-14 21:16:37

Who ever styles the models for the website should be sacked immediately.
Make the clothes look attractive, style with appropriate footwear/jewellery.
If all else fails put them on a manequin and Photoshop it out so you can see how the clothes hang.

Think john lewis not Primark...

duskymoon Tue 11-Feb-14 21:26:48

I have wide feet and it is my go to place for shoes, particullarly if I need work shoes - I know I will get a pair. I hate shoe shopping and take no pleasure trailing the shops.

LittleBabyPigsus Wed 12-Feb-14 01:11:31

I quite like the trousers but I have no idea who the target market is there - it's the kind of very on-trend stuff you'd see in ASOS (at half the price) that most people wouldn't wear. I certainly wouldn't wear top and trousers together.

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