Changing the face of beauty

When Marks & Spencer opened the first of its reinvigorated beauty halls in its Kensington High Street store in May 2012, it came not simply with an updated version of M&S brands. It featured a completely new and firmly global proposition, sourced from around the world after months of research and trial. This new beauty offering brought together a wide selection of internal and external brands, many of which had never been seen before in the UK.

With an international reputation for quality and service, and more than 130 years on the British high street, M&S is perfectly placed to bring together a unique, global edit from the best of science and nature to be found in beauty.

Offering customers a way to shop easily and with more choice, M&S has confirmed its status as a serious beauty competitor that can provide an exclusive experience, with approximately 140 stores now featuring this exciting development in retailing. The recently relaunched M&S website is also leading the way with exciting innovations, such as the virtual makeover and manicure tools.

Bringing together trusted and little-known external brands, including favourites and new arrivals, makes this proposition both inclusive and distinctive. Customers can find REN next to Rodial, Stila near James Read Self Tan and fine fragrances, including Shay & Blue and Nuxe. Originally launched with 25 external brands, today 34 can be found in-store with new launches arriving soon.

As well as unique collaborations with leading British lights, globally feted experts have also been carefully chosen by Marks & Spencer to develop products that champion the best the country has to offer.

In addition to teaming up with nail technician Leighton Denny, homeware stylist Emma Bridgewater and world-class spa Ragdale Hall, this year has seen the launch of an exclusive range with internationally renowned hair colour expert Josh Wood. Among hero products is the Colour Blending Wand, a brush-on tint that temporarily hides grey and which Josh describes as “truly innovative and one of those ‘light-bulb’ moments”.

We want to create a truly unique beauty experience in our stores and with our online beauty offering

With a well-established and devoted consumer base for its own brands, M&S continues to provide much-loved products alongside these British collaborations and external brands. There are currently 19 own brands, beauty accessories and cosmetics bag lines.

Following the enduring success of the Formula range, M&S continue to innovate with Pure Super Grape, a new skincare line based around the antioxidant ingredient resveratrol, sourced from a by-product of Chapel Down vineyard’s English pinot noir grapes – the very wine you can buy in M&S food halls.

Service too is at the heart of the proposition. All consultants are M&S employees who are expertly trained throughout the year to the beauty industry’s exacting standards. Combined with a no-commission policy, this ensures customers are given the right solutions across all ranges in a modern way, rather than focusing on a single-branded solution. Consultants can, therefore, stay dedicated to the customer, who wants to feel comfortable and have their confidence boosted, rather than feel any anxiety about their own choices and knowledge.

The beauty hall area also builds on the importance of modern delivery. Beauty halls are situated in key areas of the store that offer the shopper a relaxed and welcoming environment.

“Going on a journey with our customer is at the heart of our renewed beauty proposition,” says Jo Jenkins, director of beauty at M&S. “We want to create a truly unique beauty experience in our stores and with our online beauty offering. Bringing together the very best of our own brands with outstanding external brands sourced from around the world, M&S beauty halls give customers an extraordinary shopping experience.”