Citizen letter: Disappointed with M&S in Gloucester
MY wife and I have been loyal customers of M&S for many years and with the opening of the new store I realise just why Marks & Spencer is in the doldrums.
I note in the Sunday Times that there has been a 7% drop in clothing and homeware sales. The cavalier treatment of long-standing customers could just be part of the reason.
The facilities at the new Gloucester store are poor – the food section, for example, are smaller than the previous store and very cramped with basic M&S foods given smaller spaces. For example, a couple of weeks ago there was no M&S butter on the (tiny) shelf space but we could have purchased many items freely available at a dozen shops in Gloucester and the surrounding towns – Bovril, Persil, Nescafe coffee, Weetabix, Marmite, Cif etc. Why? We visit M&S in order to purchase M&S foods. There is little aisle space when one considers disabled buggies and the many boxes of goods being unloaded due to the usual late deliveries.
If space is short, why is there a bakery?
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In Gloucester one is unable to purchase swimwear, household goods etc. Gloucestershire is a rural area and the two old Gloucester stores drew their customers not just from Gloucester but the South Cotswolds, including my area, plus the Forest of Dean. I live 12 miles south of the city of Gloucester and this is our main shopping area. Why should I wish to travel to Cheltenham routinely?
The old Southgate Street store, adjoining the new store could have been a food hall and household goods above if Marks and Spencer had shown some interest in their customers' needs.
Finally, there is the new cafe layout. Who thought of this design? With the central island system instead of a "flow" system, there are customers with items on trays bumping into the queues of people waiting to pay. Not very good for either hygiene or safety.