Following the confirmation of retail reopening in England and Wales on 12 April, M&S has outlined its plans to reopen all clothing and home sections in its stores.
The clothing and home sections were closed as a result of lockdown restrictions in the UK.
M&S has been collecting customer responses during the lockdown and found that approximately two-thirds of customers are looking to dress up in smarter clothes than they did during the lockdown.
Online demand for dresses has steadily grown since the end of February.
Last week, the retailer saw a significant increase in search for sandals and sunglasses, with its 'new in' womenswear page now the most visited on its website.
M&S will launch its 'Bring On' campaign to highlight products customers are searching for online as social events start to return and the summer season kicks off.
The campaign will extend across M&S Food as well, highlighting customer favourites and including offers on grill products and summer drinks such as the Cherry Blossom Gin Liqueur.
M&S's head of clothing and home for retail, Alison Grainger, said, "We know lots of customers are excited about dressing up for picnics and alfresco dining with friends and family, and our stores will be bursting with tiered dresses, pretty tops, and new seasonal denim.
"While it's no longer all just about loungewear, you would expect we're going to be dedicating more space to casualwear in our shops than pre-pandemic."
A number of changes will come into effect alongside the reopening, but some elements of the old shopping experience, such as a greeter at the door, will remain.
Customers at 250 stores that sell lingerie can choose from a contact-free bra fit from their expert colleagues or a virtual at-home appointment with an M&S expert via video.
The retailer is offering a cut-off at 20:00 hours for free next-day pick up at over 800 stores via Click & Collect.
The chain will also be trialling innovations like express collection and digital check-in at around twenty stores to make collecting orders easier.
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Conor Farrelly. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.