Wednesday, 20 May 2009

This is not just any sale. This is the M&S 125th anniversary sale...

Hundreds of shoppers queued patiently outside select Marks & Spencer stores today as M&S boss Sir Stuart Rose - together with Twiggy, one of the faces of M&S - announced that the Penny Bazaar was now open. Fashionista was at the flagship London store at Marble Arch at 9am this morning when Sir Rose made his announcement, informing shoppers (and the media) that M&S is celebrating its 125th birthday this year by returning to its Penny Bazaar roots and hosting a 3 day sale of a range of 20 products (ranging from jewellery to teatowels) for 1p each. Every "Penny Bazaar" penny raised will increase the pot for the M&S 125 Charity Challenge, which aims to raise £1.25 million for local and regional charities.

Having seen the TV advert and read the press release, Fashionista had hoped to buy one of her "up-to-a-maximum-of-5-per-customer" pieces of M&S anniversary memorabilia this morning. Alas, hundreds of others had the same idea and the queues outside both the Marble Arch and Oxford Circus stores were so long that Fashionista couldn't see where they ended. Not wanting to admit defeat, Fashionista will - of course - try again tomorrow.

This is a great marketing move because it taps into nostalgia towards one of our oldest brands which in turn reminds consumers of brand value and loyalty - something which is increasingly valued by brand owners in the current economic climate. Although no profit will be made from the Penny Bazaar sales, the Penny Bazaar will pull immense crowds into M&S stores over the next 3 days and sales of full price stock must surely benefit as a result.

Well done M&S for reviving the shopping bug (even if only for three days...) and all for a good cause! Some deserved good publicity after yesterday's news of slashed dividends. Fashionista says "watch this space" for a further post celebrating M&S's 125th birthday later in the year as part of Fashionista's new, monthly Anniversary Feature. She started with Selfridges this month and has another iconic British brand celebrating its 125th anniversary lined up for June...any guesses?


Thrifty Gal said...

Be interesting to see how well this is considered to have worked seeing as the press is already running with 'it's a con, I queued for hours and it had all sold out' stories. I think it's a good idea but then I also wouldn't queue for five minutes even if they were handing out cash, so I am biased against people willing to queue for hours to save a tenner.