Record-breaking bra sales give M&S a welcome lift as it captures 37.5% of the market
Marks & Spencer has launched a digital bra-fitting tool to boost sales of its bestselling product.
The ailing retailer has struggled to return its clothing section to former glories due to supply issues and accusations its fashion styling is dowdy.
But it now has an all-time record 37.5 per cent of the market in bras – selling 24m a year – suggesting women still flock to the store for the staple item. Its ‘Rosie’ range, part of the tie-up with supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, is also selling well.
Star appeal: Marks & Spencer’s ‘Rosie’ range, part of the tie-up with supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (pictured), is also selling well
The online system for bra-fitting aims to make it easier for customers to book an appointment and receive recommendations on the size and shape of a bra. Fitting is still done in the traditional manner, with a tape measure.
But the company hopes the technology will push repeat orders, citing figures that show that women who go for an appointment with a trained fitter buy two to three times more bras than those who do not.
Chief executive Steve Rowe had to admit his plan to turn around M&S’s clothing and home department had been delayed by 18 months.
M&S has struggled recently, falling out of the FTSE 100 as profits fell from £1billion-plus in 2008 to £523million last year.
Despite early signs of improvement in the food division, M&S’s share price is now 171.95p, close to the 30-year low of 164p it reached in October.
The bra-fitting service is part of a strategy to focus on ‘killer products’ where the company is already a market leader, such as lingerie, jeans and nightwear. Amanda Glover, digital change manager at M&S, said: ‘We’re really proud to be developing retail tech that is industry-leading – such as this tool.
‘We know nearly 90 per cent of customers buy a bra after a bra-fit.’