M&S: Just a pile of ... trousers?

M&S are the next high street dinosaur facing extinction.

What a crying shame. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I actually shop in there, anymore, but how did it get into this state?

Running a small company, I have no knowledge about the complexities of the financial structure of a big high street brand but, setting this aside for a second, taking it back to basics – ‘a shop that sells stuff’ - isn’t it blindingly obvious why their big retail stores are failing?

The stores are outdated. They are large, grey, harshly lit, unwelcoming, uninspiring warehouses of jumble. It takes an age to find what you are looking for. A pair of black work trousers, for example, can be in three locations, and then when you have found them, they never have your size and they are usually of dubious quality and/or style. It’s frankly, just depressing!

I once asked them why they didn’t use mystery shopping anymore and was informed that they ask for feedback on till receipts instead. Isn’t this feedback from customers who haven’t yet deserted them? Or am I missing something?

In the modern, time short, world of a world of arm chair purchasing, surely stores need to make the experience of shopping one that is more than merely transactional if they want customers to visit?

People still like shopping as a hobby and, heaven knows, the British climate is ideal for retail therapy, so what will it take to get more people doing this?

Imagine then, when you go shopping, every window is awe inspiring and inside is a celebration of design, contemporary lighting and sound? What if shopping is about fun and interaction and entertainment and more than just a pile of trousers?

Of course, you would have to ask consumers what inspires them but, well, why bother when you can just shut down stores.

We are all frightened about asking for feedback and making changes. It’s hard work and rarely comes without effort and cost but hasn't it got to be better than making people redundant?