A dedicated Per Una design team has worked to shift customer perceptions of the brand from "too frilly" to "stylishly feminine"

A dedicated Per Una design team has worked to shift customer perceptions of the brand from "too frilly" to "stylishly feminine"

Marks & Spencer (M&S) has relaunched its Per Una brand following a "significant refresh" that comes just a week after the British retailer's management team admitted it is 18 months behind schedule on a turnaround plan for its clothing and home business.

The group yesterday (7 October) rolled out the first major campaign in over five years for its most "recognised sub-brand," focusing on an "all new" Per Una following the brand's refresh and reminding customers the products are available 'exclusively at M&S.' 

The campaign follows months of work from a dedicated Per Una team that redesigned the product with the aim of shifting customer perceptions of the brand from "too frilly" to "stylishly feminine."

In addition, M&S has taken further steps to simplify its sub-brands and for autumn/winter 2019 has removed its sub-brand Classics introduced in 2001.

As a result, the retailer says it now offers customers "two distinctive brands" – Autograph and the newly refreshed Per Una – "that support the wardrobe essentials of M&S Collection." 

"M&S is changing and we're focused on delivering what matters to our customers; great value contemporary, easy to wear style and quality wardrobe essentials backed up by an easy shopping experience," says Jill Stanton, director of womenswear and kidswear at Marks & Spencer.

"Responding to this we've redesigned our womenswear ranges and simplified our sub-brands – focusing on where we can offer a point of difference for our customers. Alongside our M&S Collection wardrobe essentials we're proud of our two clear sub-brands – Autograph and Per Una. With Per Una we've refreshed a much-loved brand to give it a more contemporary feel with lots of soft tailoring and beautiful prints." 

Nathan Ansell, director of clothing and home marketing at Marks & Spencer, adds: "Per Una is our biggest and best-known sub-brand, but in recent years it's lost some its identity. So, we've been talking to thousands of our customers about what they have loved about Per Una in the past and tried to recapture that in the contemporary brand relaunch."

Commenting on the Per Una relaunch, Chloe Collins, senior retail analyst at GlobalData, notes: "Even though the new campaign and range is definitely an improvement for Per Una, it will be difficult to shift customer perceptions for a brand which has been around since 2001 and quite clearly lost appeal. It depends on the strength of the product and presentation in-store as to whether M&S can convince younger shoppers to try the brand."

The news comes just days after M&S bosses admitted the group is 18 months behind schedule on a turnaround plan for its clothing and home business.

M&S said it is in the early stages of its "restoring the basics" plan which it announced in early 2018, following tumbling profits on declining sales. Under the five-year plan, will focus on fewer, better clothing and home stores, which will be larger, digitally enabled, better located and more inspirational for customers to shop.

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