Marks & Spencer introduces changes to how customers shop – including new online service

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Marks & Spencer is one of many retailers who has updated its rules in lines with government guidance. From today, non-essential shops have to close in England for a four week period.

This includes clothing stores and M&S has shut stores that only sell clothing or home items.

However, larger retail branches that include Foodhalls are set to stay open.

A statement from M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said: “We are very clear that we will follow the government guidelines as laid out, but our stores will remain open.

“We’re classified as a store that is key because of our food business, and the guidelines say that, while standalone clothing and home stores will be temporarily closed, anywhere where there is food may remain open, and so we’ll continue to serve our customers in the right way, in a safe environment.

“Our stores will remain fully open. The guidance is very clear that those stores that are within essential stores may remain open.”

What are the shopping rules?

The retail chain has introduced changes to shopping that aim to make customers feel more comfortable.

In branches that are open, M&S will introduce new technology that can be accessed before heading to stores.

It has teamed up with Uberall to give the latest information on stores before customers visit them.

Ahead of going to their local branch, customers can check what items are available and in stock.

The service will also provide the latest shopping rules that are in place in that store.

Up-to-date opening times for each branch will also be available.

Providing these details in advance will allow those shopping to be aware of the safety measures in place and what they must do when visiting.

The retail giant has also rolled out an appointment system so customers can book a slot in advance.

Those hoping to visit stores can plan ahead and reserve a slot using the ‘Sparks book and shop’ online reservation service.

Customers can choose from 30 minute slots and should check in with hosts at the store entrance when it is their time.

A maximum of two people from each household is allowed to visit at the time of the booking.

M&S stores director Helen Milford said: “With winter ahead, we know customers are increasingly concerned about queuing, so in response, we wanted to deliver a quick, digital solution to help them shop.

“Designed by our in-house tech teams – ‘book and shop’ does just that, helping Sparks customers guarantee a slot at a time that suits them and removing the need to queue should there be one.

“Of course customers will always be able to visit M&S without a slot but we hope this is a small way we can help make things a little easier for our customers.”

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