M&S may drop St Michael label

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The Independent Online
MARKS & SPENCER is considering dropping its St Michael trademark and signing up designer names in attempt to resuscitate it's ailing fortune.

The chain which has seen its profits drop by 50 per cent this year is looking at the possibility of big-name endorsements. The aim is to make the store more fashionable, said newspaper reports.

Some rival stores have already signed up many top designer names. Debenhams collection include Ben de Lisi, Jasper Conran, Pearce Fionda and Maria Grachvogel. Top Shop has Hussein Chalayan and Dorothy Perkins has signed up Clements Ribeiro. Principles has a special collection designed by Amanda Wakeley.

Peter Salsbury, the new chief executive of Marks & Spencer, is conducting a big strategic review, part of which will look at the St Michael brand which ranges from clothing to furniture. The branding review is seen as a tacit admission that while shoppers have become more style conscious and designer prone, St Michael conveys an impression of something expensive but not trendy.

Last week the store sacked 31 senior managers, including three directors. Hundreds of redundancies are now expected. Mr Salsbury has been reported as saying that the St Michael label is "something we are looking at closely ... it would be quite a departure for us".