One of Britain's favourite department stores Marks & Spencer is reviving its fashion lines by bringing back the St Michael brand after a surge in popularity for its retro clothing.
Younger fans are snatching up second-hand vintage clothes online and the brand is now being redeveloped for a new audience.
The second-hand items, from the 1960s to the 1990s, are popular among young people – with more than 14,000 St Michael items listed by online sellers such as eBay.
But so far only two items, a £29.50 rugby shirt and a £25 sweatshirt carry the words St Michael in the new fashion line.
M&S said it was “just starting to play with it and test reaction” to the St Michael products after a 21-year absence, under the management of chief executive Steve Rowe and chairman Archie Norman.
“We’re reshaping the future of M&S Clothing with relevant product for how our customers are living and working – sustainably sourced items that offer trusted value,” Richard Price, managing director of M&S Clothing & Home said.
“We’ll continue to listen to our customers’ feedback on our ranges. Alongside great products, our customers want a seamless and inspirational shopping experience whether they’re online or in-store and we’re continuing to make changes.”
St Michael began as a brand in the 1920s and was a tribute to company founder Michael Marks.
M&S said in August its transformation programme after Covid lockdowns was “on track” when the company made a strong start to the financial year with a rise in demand for food and online clothes orders.
UK retailers, including M&S, were hit hard at the start of the pandemic when the country went into lockdown in March 2020 and non-essential shops closed, with further lockdowns also hampering demand.
At M&S, a drive to improve the quality of its products, as well as heavy investment in technology and e-commerce, saw the company’s clothing and home division revenue almost double in the 19 weeks to August 14 from the previous year.
It has reshaped its shopping estate, built a venture with online supermarket Ocado and added third-party clothing and footwear brands to its website.