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Marks & Spencer: Translating success in its foodhalls to clothing and home retail

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Case studies, Working safely

National retailer Marks & Spencer has welcomed customers back to its clothing and homeware departments with staff greeting customers at the door.

Marks & Spencer

Andrew Walmsley, M&S’s Retail Operations Director explains how the company is using its experience in food operations to reopen the rest of the business safely for customers and their staff.

“I’ve never been prouder to be part of the M&S team than over these past few months. Our store teams have been brilliant at implementing the necessary social distancing and hygiene measures to help customers shop our food, and our customers have been great at respecting each other and following the guidance.

We have brought these lessons and insights over to clothing and home - from the installation of Perspex screens at tills, to encouraging contactless payment, to managing the flow of customers in and out. We look forward to welcoming customers back to clothing and home.”

m&s store

The measures Marks & Spencer have introduced include:

  • Providing hand sanitiser for customers in store.
  • Installing signs and floor markings to remind customers to stay a safe distance apart from other shoppers, as per government guidelines.
  • Providing a ‘greeter’ at each store to explain the social distancing measures to customers, offer help and advice to shoppers, including visually impaired and disabled customers who may require additional assistance navigating the measures, and managing the flow customers in the stores.
  • Pausing services such as ‘bra fit’ but providing expert colleagues to offer customers advice.
  • Providing coffee-to-go with contactless collection while the cafes remain closed.
  • Installing Perspex screens at all tills and accepting the new contactless limit of £45.
  • Extending the refund policy to allow customers to try items on at home and return them to store if needed.
  • Continuing to reserve the first hour of trading from 8am-9am on Monday and Thursday for older and vulnerable customers, and the same on Tuesday and Friday for NHS, health and social care workers.
  • Offering customers access to the sunflower lanyard scheme, a discreet way for those with hidden disabilities to show they need additional support or a little more time.
  • Donating 10% of purchase prices of items in the Marks & Spencer ‘rainbow sale’ to NHS charities.

m&s coffee shop

The government has published COVID-19 secure guidance to support businesses to reopen and for workers to feel confident, safe and empowered to return to work.

If you run a business and would like to know which of the coronavirus support schemes you are eligible for, you can use the business support finder tool. It takes just minutes to complete and will help you easily find support for your business.

Watch the videos to see how M&S is working to keep customers and staff safe

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  1. Comment by Dessy Emes posted on

    Visited Crystal Peaks M&S yesterday. Wasnt unbearable although numbers in the Food Hall were much higher than elsewhere in store. I think hand sanitiser for customer use needs to be more visible as I didnt see any. Had my own so not an issue, but it might be for some customers.

  2. Comment by Jean Risby posted on

    Thank you I have been in isolation since March so have been apprehensive about returning to shopping, this explanation has given me confidence to get back into the "real" world

  3. Comment by Kathryn posted on

    Love M&S and there are just a handful of stores doing their bit for the shoppers.
    Always feel safe in the food halls, keep up the great work M&S

  4. Comment by Pat posted on

    Love M &S and know they are doing their best for us but could you please open your toilets as a lot of people can't manage to go out without needing them. Hope you can help.


    • Replies to Pat>

      Comment by Pat posted on

      Marks & Spencer's have opened their cafe and toilets. ??

  5. Comment by Carol Knight posted on

    Website has got wrong opening times for over 70 S and vulnerable people says 8-9am but store near to me opened 8 30 .

  6. Comment by Linda Gale posted on

    I have been shielding but 2 weeks ago decided M&S at Handforth Dean would feel safe, I had really been missing the food hall. Arrived about 10am and was expecting someone on the door but found no one there and I could just walk in, I didn't see any signage or obvious one lay system. I was suprised to see quite a large area of clothing open with lot's of sale stuff, have to admit I got tempted and managed to find a few things, but people walking in any direction. Headed for the food Hall and found that the same, people far to close and cutting across each other. PleasedI went but left me feeling a little vulnerable.

  7. Comment by Maureen Jackson posted on

    I would think the toilet facilities sho should most certainly be open to customers if supermarkets can do it I would think m&s could extend the same service

  8. Comment by Maureen Jackson s posted on

    Please open toilet facilities supermarkets can do it why can't m&s?

  9. Comment by Joyce Costello posted on

    Is Gloucester store open please

  10. Comment by Elizabeth Tourell posted on

    Reiterating request to open toilets. Other Supermarkets provide them and John Lewis so why not M & S. Can’t visit until you do.

    • Replies to Elizabeth Tourell>

      Comment by Anne Edwards posted on

      I won’t go to Marks until the toilets are open.

  11. Comment by Mrs Hague posted on

    Toilets need to open before I shop again as my nearest M and S is 30 min drive away. The 2 stores closest to me both closed down.

  12. Comment by Irene Moyes posted on

    You need to open toilet facilities. We are away from home much longer due to queues etc. I would love to go to my nearest store but will need to use the loo x

  13. Comment by J Sanford posted on

    Cannock food hall have done nothing like you have Quoted and nothing over the lock down .I respect what you tried to achieve with M& S at this unprecedent time .But your staff are absolutely shattered exhausted and stressed .And without a second thought don't you think some people on furlough should be bought back to give your hard Woking staff that have put their life on the line a break.Just 99 pence a hour extra is a disgrace and an insult .

  14. Comment by Rita O’farrell posted on

    The early morning slot for old and vulnerable people it’s not very convenient. First it takes older and vulnerable people longer to get ready in the morning and secondly the bus pass is no longer able to be used at that time.
    And I would like to add my voice to the need for the toilets to be open it’s ridiculous having a big store like that which is mainly used by older people and not having any toilet facilities

  15. Comment by Margaret cosgrove posted on

    Toilets should be open if shops are where does staff go ?


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