M&S Per Una - is major label to be axed?

The Per Una brand that was once a major lifesaver for M&S’s fashion ops could be axed as the company continues to work on its turnaround plan and takes tough decisions to boost its recovery.


Per Una's existence is under review by M&S according to reports


A report in the Mail on Sunday said the company is mulling the brand’s future as part of a review of its its portfolio of own-labels that also includes Autograph, Limited Edition and Blue Harbour.

Per Una was launched in 2001 in a joint venture deal between M&S and fashion entrepreneur George Davies and was credited with boosting its appeal to younger consumers. The company later bought full control of the brand but Per Una has failed to keep pace with rival labels in recent years and M&S is currently struggling to get Millennials looking beyond its food and intimates offer at the Per Una line.

The news that the brands are under review shows that the business’s store closure programme (which will mean 100 branch closures by 2022) isn’t the end of the company’s determination to take big, game-changing decisions around its current offer.

And that’s something that’s being seen at other retailers too. The last year has also seen rival Debenhams reviewing longstanding brands, culling its Designers at Debenhams list by removing stalwarts that have little relevance to Millennial customers and adding new names with a more contemporary edge.

That contemporary appeal is hugely important as John Lewis has shown. It has grown its own-label fashion sales fast in recent periods by adding several brand brand new house brands to its offer that feel very ‘now’.

With womenswear accounting for around 20% of M&S’s almost-£11 billion annual sales, it’s a key area that the company must get right to guarantee sustainable growth as it heads towards the 2020s and two decades of trying to get back on track.

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