Marks and Spencer’s sell-out face masks are back as store is criticised for its rules

As face masks become an essential tool in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, many stores have been launching reusable cloth coverings so shoppers can stock up. Marks and Spencer’s own version flew off the shelves when it first launched, selling out in just 24 hours. The popular packs even sold out a second time once they were restocked – but the masks are now back and available to buy online. 

The masks come in a set of five shades in either blues or greys for adults, while the children can opt for a blue set to match their parents or two more colourful and stripey designs, including a dinosaur print. 

All of the products have an average rating of four stars on the website – but some have criticised the design. 

“In comparison to other masks these fit poorly and frequently slip when you speak. Making them unusable,” said one reviewer of the adult masks. 

“Initially I thought I had bought children’s in error but the packaging and order clearly state Adult. This is unfortunate as they are well made and look good.”

Others agreed that they were “flimsy” and came up small compared to other cloth masks. 

However, others gave the children’s masks a better review, with one customer posting: “Our children like them and they fit them all well. They are aged 7,11 and 12. 

“Would not suit older children though as would be too small, it is on the limit for our 12 year old.”

The cheap masks have clearly been popular among shoppers who have been quick to buy them, but some customers have also shared their concerns over the face mask policy in store. 

Posting on Twitter, shoppers have complained to Marks and Spencer that its staff are not wearing the masks. 

“Not sure if this intentional @marksandspencer but all your staff on the shop floor mask/visor-less while shoppers in masks edge around them sends the message ‘don’t care if we spread the virus or about the NHS’. It may not be compulsory but it would at least pretend you cared,” wrote one Twitter user. 

Others complained that those on checkouts weren’t wearing a mask, while some intervened and said there’s no need if they’re behind a perspex screen. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently updated the guidance so that as well as public transport, people must wear face coverings in indoor areas including shops, places of worship, museums and other indoor spaces. 

Retailers have been providing their staff with PPE in order to carry out their work safely when serving customers since the start of the pandemic, but they aren’t always mandatory.  

This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently, see more details here.



Marks and Spencer’s sell-out face masks are back in stock with new designs

Face masks have become a part of everyday life in the UK as everyone is urged to do their bit to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. While disposable masks are available, reusable face coverings have seen huge demand as a more cost-effective and sustainable option. Marks and Spencer is just one retailer that has launched its own face masks – and they are now back in stock after the initial rush caused them to sell out. 

Shoppers have been looking to the high street to find cloth face masks for both adults and children. 

Independent sellers were quick to start selling the cloth coverings from the beginning of the lockdown on marketplace sites such as eBay and Etsy, but now bigger stores are making them even more accessible. 

Supermarkets including Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Asda have been selling reusable face coverings in store so that shoppers can pick them up along with their groceries. 

But when Marks and Spencer launched its own pack of masks, they flew off the shelves. 

READ MORE: Aldi is selling Harry Potter fabric so shoppers can make face masks

They also have an antibacterial finish that lasts for up to 40 washes, according to the M&S website, designed to keep them fresher for longer.

The masks, which originally sold out within hours of going live, are now back in stock on the website. 

They are available in four different pack designs for children, and two different designs for adults, all selling for the same bargain price. 

The adult designs are all plain, with one set being a chic mix of tonal blue colours, and the second featuring pretty pastel shades for men and women. 

The children’s designs include a dinosaur print, heart print, nautical stripes and bright colours, making the idea of wearing a covering less daunting for the little ones. 

However, children under the age of 11 are not required to wear a face mask as part of the new rules. 

For adults and children over the age of 11, the government advice means they are now compulsory in indoor settings where you are mixing with other households, such as on public transport and in supermarkets and shops. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also updated the guidance to add places of worship, museums and other indoor spaces to the rules amid fears of a second wave. 

Face masks have caused controversy over recent months with some saying the guidance to wear them came too late. 

Initially, government officials weren’t convinced of their efficacy in protecting against the virus, but studies have since found that they can help to stop the spread of the disease. 

While its protection for the wearer is still quite minimal, studies have shown that you can significantly protect others by covering up – so if everyone wears one, it’ll reduce the risk of the coronavirus. 

These reusable cloth face coverings are not to be used as PPE as they are not medical-grade masks. 

This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently, see more details here.



Marks and Spencers to cut HUNDREDS of jobs this week – Coronavirus purge continues

Redundancy plans will begin in the coming days as M&S becomes the latest retail giant to scale back its workforce. 

In the initial phase, the first cuts will begin after COVID-19 pandemic causes a temporary closure oof its shops in March. 

The brand will now joing Boots, John Lewis and Debenhams in succoming to the retail purge which has occurred due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to Sky News, the initial batch of cuts could soon rise into the thousands. 

Of the 78,000 employees, 27,000 were placed onto the furlough scheme. 

However, with employers now required to begin pay national insurance and pensions to staff, M&S becomes the latest to use the scheme before then announcing cutbacks. 

Employers will be asked to pay the full amount of the scheme by the end of October. 

More to follow…



Why Marks and Spencer’s ‘arrogance’ led to clothing sale plunge: ‘We are the best!’ 

The 136-year-old company was founded by Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer in 1884 and soon became a UK favourite for selling high-quality British-made products. In 1998, M&S became the first British retailer to make a pre-tax profit of over £1billion, but just one year later those profits were halved – taking managers by surprise and forcing the company to make unprecedented changes – like switching to overseas suppliers. Since then, bosses have moved to implement a “radical” plan focusing more on the food side of the company as clothing sales plunged 75 percent in recent reports.

Former CEO of the company, Stuart Rose, outlined some of the issues that may have led the retailer to this point during Channel 5’s documentary ‘Inside Marks and Spencer’.

He said in 2019: “You have got rising costs, you’ve got no ability to pass the costs on.

“You’ve got squeezed margins and you have got an audience who’s pretty savvy, and then you’ve got people who are less interested in buying stuff.”

Faced with dwindling sales, M&S decided on a rebrand in 2001, acquiring the help of George Davies – the founder of Next – in the hope of turning things around.

Former CEO Stuart Rose shared his thoughts on M&S

Former CEO Stuart Rose shared his thoughts on M&S (Image: GETTY)

Marks and Spencer was booming in the NIneties

Marks and Spencer was booming in the NIneties (Image: GETTY)

Retail author Judi Bevan explained why the shock move paid off initially.

She said: “Per Una was brought in to revitalise the brand and make it appeal to the younger woman.

“Marks and Spencer brought in George Davies, the founder of Next.

“He was a brilliant, creative mind, and he was fantastic at designing clothes.

“For a while, it revitalised the company.”

READ MORE: Marks and Spencer’s plan to ‘go back to its roots’ in ‘radical’ company shake-up revealed

Stuart Rose said there were another of issues

Stuart Rose said there were another of issues (Image: CHANNEL 5)

Profits initially went up, but after three years M&S bought out Mr Davies for £125million and financial woes returned, leading to a hostile takeover bid.

The narrator explained: “By 2004, M&S was in such trouble, it became vulnerable to a takeover.

“Controversial retail tycoon Philip Green came forward with a £9billion hostile bid.

“Earlier in his career, Rose had sold the retail group Arcadia to Green, and the two men knew each other well, so the billionaire believed Rose had betrayed him by refusing to sell M&S.”

The narrator went on to explain how the problems deepened as M&S refused to make the change to meet the rising demands of online consumers.

Judi Bevan said the company suffered from 'arrogance'

Judi Bevan said the company suffered from ‘arrogance’ (Image: CHANNEL 5)

George Davies was brought in to turn things around

George Davies was brought in to turn things around (Image: CHANNEL 5)

She added: “M&S may have finally won the takeover battle, but they were losing the retail war as more Britons began to shop online.

“In a further blow, M&S even began to lose its hard-won reputation for quality, the result of importing more clothes from abroad in a depart attempt to keep down costs.

“Over the next decade, M&S saw their market share continue to drop and by 2018, radical surgery was required.

“The company announced multiple store closures.”

Ms Bevan stated that she thought M&S suffered from belatedly addressing modern competition due to their “arrogance”.

There was a hostile takeover bid from Philip Green

There was a hostile takeover bid from Philip Green (Image: GETTY)

M&S is now focusing on the food side of the business

M&S is now focusing on the food side of the business (Image: GETTY)

She added: “I think Marks and Spencer suffered from this feeling of arrogance, that we are the best.

“You know, ‘we don’t really need to go onto the internet’.

“They didn’t see it coming and they thought ‘well, people like to come into a store, they like to see and feel’.

“They didn’t understand.”

But, things could soon be turned around.

The narrator continued: “M&S must change, but how? Some believe the answer is to embrace an audience it has too often ignored.

“Despite all the gloom, some observers believe a brand that was once high street royalty can regain its crown by going back to its roots, embracing innovation and change.”

On November 9, 2010, chief executive Marc Bolland revealed his plan to strengthen the company’s overall brand image, which involved the discontinuation of its ‘Portfolio’ fashion brand and the sale of electrical products.

But, on January 7, 2016, it was announced Mr Bolland would step down and be replaced by Steve Rowe, head of clothing and two years later, Stuart Machin was appointed Managing Director of Food to lead the transformation of the food business.

M&S core shops now typically feature a selection of the company’s clothing, homeware and beauty ranges and an M&S Foodhall.

But many stores are now standalone Foodhalls and in 2019, M&S launched five of these as part of the transformation of the business.



Marks and Spencer’s radical rebrand plan to cut costs and ‘revitalise’ company revealed

Founded by Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer in 1884, M&S solidified its position as a high street favourite for selling high-quality British-made products, and, by 1998, it had become the first in the country to make a pre-tax profit of over £1billion. But, just one year later those profits were halved, forcing M&S to belatedly switch to overseas suppliers in order to cut costs. Since then, bosses have moved to pen a “radical” plan to focus more on the food side of the company.

Of the 959 stores across the UK, 615 now only sell produce and by 2022 they will have closed more than 100 clothing stores.

Channel 5’s ‘Inside Marks and Spencer’ documentary revealed how the retailer got to this point, and why executives think their new vision will help turn things around.

The narrator said in 2019: “In 1998, Marks and Spencer became the first-ever British retailer to post a pre-tax profit of £1billion, but almost immediately things started to turn sour.

“Britain’s retail landscape was becoming increasingly volatile and, by 2000, M&S itself came under serious financial pressure.

Marks and Spencer had a radical rebrand plan

Marks and Spencer had a radical rebrand plan (Image: GETTY/CHANNEL 5)

Marks and Spencer have shut numerous stores

Marks and Spencer have shut numerous stores (Image: GETTY)

“Even worse for the company, its clothing lines were no longer seen as fashionable.”

Former CEO of the company, Stuart Rose, outlined some of the issues Marks and Spencer faced at this time.

He said: “You have got rising costs, you’ve got no ability to pass the costs on.

“You’ve got squeezed margins and you have got an audience who’s pretty savvy, and then you’ve got people who are less interested in buying stuff.”

Faced with dwindling sales, M&S decided on a rebrand in 2001, acquiring the help of George Davies – the founder of Next – in an unprecedented move.

READ MORE: Moment that changed Marks & Spencer forever revealed: ‘Will NEVER recover to glory days’

George Davies was brought in to help

George Davies was brought in to help (Image: CHANNEL 5)

Author Judi Bevan explained why the gamble paid off initially.

She said: “Per Una was brought in to revitalise the brand and make it appeal to the younger woman.

“Marks and Spencer brought in George Davies, the founder of Next.

“He was a brilliant, creative mind, and he was fantastic at designing clothes.

“For a while, it revitalised the company.”

Profits initially went up, but after three years M&S bought out Mr Davies for £125million and financial woes returned, leading to a hostile takeover bid.

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Per Una was a success

Per Una was a success (Image: CHANNEL 5)

Judi Bevan explained the difficulties faced by M&S

Judi Bevan explained the difficulties faced by M&S (Image: CHANNEL 5)

The narrator explained: “By 2004, M&S was in such trouble, it became vulnerable to a takeover.

“Controversial retail tycoon Philip Green came forward with a £9billion hostile bid.

“Earlier in his career, Rose had sold the retail group Arcadia to Green, and the two men knew each other well, so the billionaire believed Rose had betrayed him by refusing to sell M&S.”

The narrator went on to explain how the problems deepened.

She added: “M&S may have finally won the takeover battle, but they were losing the retail war as more Britons began to shop online.

“In a further blow, M&S even began to lose its hard-won reputation for quality, the result of importing more clothes from abroad in a depart attempt to keep down costs.

Philip Green tried to buy Marks and Spencer

Philip Green tried to buy Marks and Spencer (Image: CHANNEL 5)

“Over the next decade, M&S saw their market share continue to drop and by 2018, radical surgery was required.

“The company announced multiple store closures.”

Ms Bevan stated that she thought M&S suffered from belatedly addressing competition.

She added: “I think Marks and Spencer suffered from this feeling of arrogance, that we are the best.

“You know, ‘we don’t really need to go onto the internet’.

“They didn’t see it coming and they thought ‘well, people like to come into a store, they like to see and feel’.

Today Marks is shifting its focus

Today Marks is shifting its focus (Image: GETTY)

“They didn’t understand.”

But, things could soon be turned around.

The narrator continued: “M&S must change, but how? Some believe the answer is to embrace an audience it has too often ignored.

“Despite all the gloom, some observers believe a brand that was once high street royalty can regain its crown by going back to its roots, embracing innovation and change.”

On November 9, 2010, chief executive Marc Bolland revealed plans to strengthen the company’s overall brand image, which involved the discontinuation of its ‘Portfolio’ fashion brand and the sale of electrical products.

But, on January 7, 2016, it was announced Mr Bolland would step down and be replaced by Steve Rowe, head of clothing.

Two years later, Stuart Machin was appointed Managing Director of Food to lead the transformation of the food business and the overall direction of the company away from clothing.

M&S core shops now typically feature a selection of the company’s clothing, homeware and beauty ranges and an M&S Foodhall.

But many stores are now standalone Foodhalls and in 2019, M&S launched five of these as part of the transformation of the business.

Ms Bevan said the moves reflect a cultural shift in the company.

She added: “I think, at the moment, there is a huge cultural change.

“The current management are not frightened of new ideas and I think they are also becoming a lot more international in their outlook.”