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Gallery: Marks & Spencer ‘amps up’ sustainability appeal for customers in store


Marks & Spencer has opened its first full-line store of the new financial year, within which it has adopted a new way of communicating its Plan A sustainability programme to shoppers.


Sustainability messaging greets customers at M&S, Galleries Washington, Tyne & Wear


The 43,000 sq ft store, which opened today at Galleries Washington in Tyne & Wear, is part of the retailer’s branch renewal programme and replaces a food hall nearby and the Sunderland city centre branch.


Marks & Spencer has brought its sustainability credentials to the fore as never before in the store, where the benefits and objectives of its Plan A programme feature prominently.


The store emphasises community projects for initiatives such as reducing food waste


“It’s the first time we’ve talked to the customers in this way,” says M&S head of sustainability and technical specification Andy Krimat-Carr.


“It’s almost a stepping stone about how does net zero affect them? And what are we doing about it?”


The front-of-store vinyls carry a sustainability message for the first time in a full-line branch


The retailer’s emphasis on sustainability begins in the car park, where trolley bays carry information about the Plan A programme such as the use of in-store electricity rather than gas, which helps reduce carbon emissions.


The front-of-store vinyls also carry Plan A messaging, which have featured in food stores previously but not in full-line shops.


Sustainable messaging also features in the fashion department


Inside, the sustainability message features throughout, in clothing and home as well as food. “It’s amping up Plan A messaging,” a spokesperson says.


In the food hall, the retailer flags initiatives such as its Neighbourly community causes partnership.


There are new-look customer drop-off points where unwanted items can be recycled or reused


M&S also highlights how its use of old loaves for garlic bread reduces waste – the bread’s shelf-life can be extended for as many as 40 days through the scheme, which is being rolled out to 60 more branches.


In the clothing and home department, the difference made through the reuse of hangers – with a billion avoided being sent to landfill – along responsible sourcing and new-style points, where customers can donate unwanted clothing and plastics, all feature.


Links are made to good causes throughout the store


There are QR codes throughout, which enable customers to find out more about M&S’ approach to sustainable retail.


At a corporate level, the Galleries Washington store represents how M&S is taking a sustainability-minded approach to its estate more widely.


M&S highlights its landfill avoidance through the reuse of clothing hangers


The use of fridge doors reduces energy use, as well as making the general environment more comfortable for shoppers. When the store is closed, all lights go off or dim to ‘stocking level’.


The store includes fridge doors, which help to save energy


The store, says Krimat-Carr, is a “testbed for colleagues and customers” and may provide a footprint for the further new stores M&S plans to open.


The store is a “testbed for colleagues and customers”

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