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?
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.
Cut to a price
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.
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.
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?