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How Marks & Spencer and others are using deep discounting to clear clothing stock online

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Marks & Spencer has launched an online-only ‘rainbow’ clothing sale with discounts of at least 50% across all categories as it looks to clear unsold stock. Ten per cent of takings will be donated to NHS Charities Together.

The sale takes M&S’ recent promotional activity on a step. It has previously run deals of the day online with a range of offers such as buy one get one free and three for two on kids clothes.

Shoppers can choose to buy from its Rainbow sale online or from the M&S app and choose between contactless home delivery or free collection from stores. Collection points in stores have temporarily been moved closer to the food hall. 

Ellie Orton, chief executive of NHS Charities Together, said: “During this time the rainbow has become a symbol of hope and I want to say a big thank you to M&S and all their colleagues and customers for supporting our appeal with the Rainbow Sale, in addition to the other activity they’ve done. The money raised from this sale will be used by NHS charities to provide vital support to staff, volunteers and patients.”

M&S is one of a number of retailers currently running sales on selected categories, notably clothing. Debenhams is offering 30% off women’s fashion and home products as well as 20% off beauty and fragrance and Boohoo is offering up to 50% off everything. But others, including John Lewis and H&M are currently maintaining full-price strategies. Some, including Fatface and Next, are clearing stock through discounts of up to 50% that are shown on specific clearance pages on their websites but not highlighted on their home pages. 

Many retailers have been left with unsold stock following the closure of non-essential shops during the coronavirus pandemic. Figures from the IMRG e-retail trade association have suggested that clothing sales have been particularly hard hit. 

The news comes as M&S confirmed Richard Price would start as managing director, clothing and home, on July 6, taking over responsibility for those areas from chief executive Steve Rowe. 

M&S chief executive Rowe said: “Richard joins us at a crucial time. I am confident that his leadership of a much-strengthened team and track record of delivering growth through great value, stylish product will accelerate the transformation of our clothing and home business and build on the improvements in product, value and availability over the past year.”

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