Marks & Spencer sponsors 'Dreamboy' strippers

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The Independent Online

The troubled Marks & Spencer store may follow its ad campaign that featured a naked woman with a Reubenesque bottom by sponsoring a troupe of male strippers to boost flagging sales.

The troubled Marks & Spencer store may follow its ad campaign that featured a naked woman with a Reubenesque bottom by sponsoring a troupe of male strippers to boost flagging sales.

The once-staid store is in talks with The Dreamboys, Britain's answer to America's Chippendales, to back a 30-date stripping tour across the UK. If the talks go well, the five muscle-bound dancers will come on stage in M&S clothes, then peel them off before screaming audiences.

The company is a co-sponsor of the tour and gave a "small" amount of money because The Dreamboys plan to raise money for the Breakthrough breast cancer awareness scheme. Two days ago, talks began with the troupe's management to decide whether to provide clothes.

An M&S spokeswoman denied the possible link-up was aimed at improving M&S's dowdy image. But she said if the company did decide to go ahead, the timing would be perfect, because it plans to launch a new range of men's high fashion, Men's Autograph, on 23 October, three weeks before the tour starts. "We are waiting for details of dates, dance routines, numbers of dancers and so on," she added.

The Dreamboys and their "sexploits" provide a regular diet of scandal for the tabloids. Retired members have spoken of group sex sessions, wild parties and even one encounter between a Dreamboy, a mother and her grown-up daughter.

"I think it would be a great tie-up for M&S," said Bari Bacco, The Dreamboys' manager. "Their clothes are very good so it will be good for them to be associated with sex symbols like The Dreamboys. We're absolutely over the moon."

Older M&S customers may be relieved to know The Dreamboys, though raunchy, never go the full monty; they always keep their g-strings on. Those are not supplied by M&S.

This week, the company's share price dropped 5p to a 10-year low of 183.5p.

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