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  • ms-kidsNew customer campaign launched highlighting sustainability credentials of the super-durable, “hand-me-downable” Back to School offer which is all 20% off
  • Campaign follows ”Back to School” brand partnership with Clarks which launched last week

M&S launched its 2021 Back to School campaign ‘Uniform – for kids who are anything but’  (uniform). The campaign will communicate to M&S’s customers the trusted-quality value and sustainability credentials of the 2021 range and will kickstart with 20% off the entire offer, which as ever includes the parent-friendly innovations M&S is known for – from permanent pleats in skirts to “easy to iron” shirts.

More Sustainable & Kinder to the Planet

Sustainability has been at the heart of M&S Kids’ thinking for over a decade – in 2006 M&S became the first major UK retailer to sell Kids’ clothes made using organic Fairtrade cotton. During the pandemic consumers have become even more conscious of the impact of clothing on the environment and over 50% of M&S customers surveyed say they have become more aware of sustainable clothing options during this time. Responding to this, M&S’s Back to School offer for 2021 is “more sustainable than ever” and “kinder to the planet” – these claims have been backed up by robust evidence compiled by M&S’s expert Plan A team including individual certification claims for specific product call outs throughout the offer, so parents can shop with confidence at M&S.

New for the uniform offer this year, M&S is switching to organic cotton across all knitwear, jersey, and sweats.  Organic cotton is grown without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilisers and all garments meet M&S’s Organic Materials Sourcing Policy meaning items are certified to third party standards. M&S is also introducing both sustainably sourced viscose, sustainably sourced trims (including sewing thread, buttons, and interlining) and more recycled polyester than previous years. M&S sells 2 million polos a year so has selected this as the hero item of the range, creating its most sustainable polo ever using organic cotton fabric with interlining, threads and buttons containing recycled material.

As ever, the entire range has been created to pass the “hand-me-down” test including coats that have space for three names in the label so a 2021 purchase can be used by siblings or friends in years to come.

An Omnichannel Offer That’s Easier for Parents

Across the market, “Back to School” is the third biggest retail event of the year and following more than a year of disruption, this back to school season will be an important moment for many families. Alongside shining a spotlight on sustainability, this year M&S is focused on making the range easier to shop both online and in-store. Later this month the retailer will launch new visual category filters on M& (pictured) making it even easier for customers to shop the entire range, while in-store customers will benefit from helpful “checklists” as well as M&S’s expert clothing colleagues who are always on hand to help. All M&S uniform, including the new Clarks school shoe offer, will be available online for free next day click & collect to over 600 M&S stores. Clarks launched online and in eight M&S stores last week.

Alice Duggan, Head of M&S Kids said, “We’re really proud to serve little ones who we know care about the big things, and as a major uniform retailer, we have a responsibility to keep working on making our offer more sustainable and kinder to the planet. This year we’ve got more recycled items than ever before, and we’re really pleased to be moving to organic cotton. With so much for parents to think about, we want to give them the confidence that our offer is more sustainable than ever, whilst making it even easier for them to shop both in-store and online.”.

Back to School 2021 is part of M&S’s ongoing focus on kidswear as part of a strategic shift from “special occasion” to everyday style & value encompassing both uniform and casual daywear for after-school and weekends. M&S Kids is driving frequency of shop through creating a more relevant offer and market share is +0.5% vs pre-pandemic.