Dec 15, 2017 | By Carlene Thomas Bailey
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Marks and Spencer has found reasons to be optimistic in the run up to Christmas, revealing that 200,000 people have signed up for Marks & Spencer’s Sparks loyalty card in the last three days and that it expects online to be more popular than ever.
The retailer said the new additions took its total Sparks membership to 2m in the three weeks since it launched the scheme, which it hopes will help to turnaround sales declines in its general merchandise business.
The comments came as the retailer unveiled its Christmas advertising campaign, which will see it move away from the Christmas ad “epic” of recent years. The campaign features seven shorter commercials that tie into different milestones on the festive calendar, such as buying gifts and preparing Christmas dinner.
The retailer has hired Joseph Bennett, the designer of Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty exhibition to design the campaign. The campaign aims to put a “fresh, festive twist” on a series of adverts that the retailer hopes will draw in shoppers during the key selling season.
Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, the executive director of marketing and international at M&S, said: “Customers tell us they experience Christmas as a series of mini-moments and emotions and each moment matters in building that bigger sense of occasion.”
“As a result, our approach is more box-set than blockbuster epic, as we wanted to capture that feeling of anticipation and create an upbeat campaign that moves with the pace of the season and shows how M&S can help to make each moment special.”
The retailer said it predicts more online and mobile sales than ever before. It predicted that sales via mobile devices could rise by more than 50% this season.
Bousquet-Chavanne told the Guardian: “We think 2015 is going to be the biggest online Christmas ever in the UK… first and foremost for inspiration and browsing, which will be at an all-time peak on smartphones and shopping as well. We are seeing amazing growth in mobile engagement… from being about search-related it is really now about purchasing as well.”
The growing popularity of the click and collect system meant people were likely to leave their shopping later than ever, Bousquet-Chavanne said, but it would be a better Christmas for retailers than last year.
He suggested there would be three or four days when online visitors would surpass 200m, including Black Friday through to Cyber Monday.
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