Would you spend £800 on a M&S suit?

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If you had £800 to spend on a suit, would you make for Marks and Spencer? Home to the machine washable 2 button £18 jacket (current sale price), M&S have introduced their new 'Best of British' range - for a price.

The troubled retailer claims quality is equal to that of a £2,000 off-the-peg job from Savile Row. Is an £800 M&S suit good value?


Cut to a price

It's an intriguing idea: when M&S' general merchandise department is haemorrhaging sales, its shareholders are disgruntled and an ex-chairman - Lord Myners, in this case - criticises M&S' corporate performance, you fall back on publicising your most expensive wool suit ever. In the middle of summer.

To be fair, the suits won't be available till October. M&S remains under huge pressure from a range of retailers - Next, Zara, John Lewis, Top Shop, Primark - which have increasingly creamed off M&S' market share, exacerbating the perception that M&S' core customer market is the over 50s, or 'Twiggy' generation.

Woolly thinking?

How many young, style-conscious males will blow £800 on an M&S suit remains to be seen. Which is why this new collection is a limited run. M&S must be conscious that, if you cast around, you can still buy a cheap-ish made-to-measure suit, thanks to cheap second/third world labour and the power of the internet.

The new M&S suits - just four designs - will be available through five stores, Marble Arch, Camberley, Kensington, Edinburgh and Bluewater. Only British wool is used, made by two Yorkshire companies, Abraham Moon and Alfred Brown.

So, have M&S lost the plot, reinforcing the idea that their clothes are simply too expensive? Or is an £800 off-the-peg British 100% wool M&S suit actually fair value? Even cool?

High Street casualties

High Street casualties


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