The popular British brand finally in town

Conversation with Annie.

Annie: What was Marks & Spencer more popularly known before?
Me: St. Michael's!

We both laughed. That clearly showed we belong to the same era. Back in the 80's, Rustan's Department Store was the go-to place to to shop for the "it" underwear. It became "it" maybe because it was pure cotton and boy, was it ever so comfortable to wear, durable as well.

Well, the purveyor of the must-own comfortable articles of British clothing we love is finally in town. We now use and call it Marks & Spencer. St. Michael's just faded and became a thing of the past.

A few more days and Marks & Spencer in Davao will be launched. Of all the stores in Abreeza, this opening must be the most awaited.

It’s not that surprising. For years, the Dabawenyos have become loyal shoppers of this British brand that whenever trips to Manila or abroad come up, a stop at M&S is a must to hoard on their apparel and foodstuff of choice.

Now, Dabawenyos have no need to travel far, Marks ad Spencer is in town. Its Abreeza Mall branch marks the 19th M&S store to open in the Philippines under an existing franchise agreement with Rustan Marketing Specialists, Inc., an expansion in line with Marks & Spencer’s international strategy to build a strong presence across Asia.

Since it was founded 128 years ago along, Marks and Spencer has stores all over the globe- 720 in the UK and 380 across Europe, Middle East and Asia. "Today, M&S is one of the leading retailers and the number one provider of womenswear and lingerie in the UK, and are rapidly growing its market share in menswear, kidswear and home, due in part to their growing online business."

Anthony Huang, the Executive Vice-President for Stores Specialists, Inc. said: “We’re delighted to be opening a new store in Abreeza Mall, providing local shoppers with the very best of Marks & Spencer. Preparations for the opening are in place and the team is very excited about welcoming customers from all over the region to the store – we’re sure that our range of good quality, great value products will be a hit with customers across Davao City.”

“The new 1,000 square meter store will offer this season’s latest collections and M&S’ exclusive innovations across womenswear and menswear, as well as accessories, footwear, sleepwear and lingerie, beauty products, and food and wines,” said Lucille Tolentino, Merchandising Division Manager for M&S, when asked about the store offerings to the Davao shoppers. “The M&S’ popular clothing brands that will be at the store include Autograph – Luxurious, chic and sophisticated, the range embodies understated, international style; M&S Woman and M&S Man – Stylish, dependable but still inspiring, the range brings you the great value clothes you love; Indigo Collection – Soft, pretty and coordinated casualwear, the collection is perfect for women who need easy style for a busy life; North Coast – takes a relaxed approach to life with a casual, authentic and laid back style; and, Blue Harbour – the clean, masculine range offers men considered style, where casual can still be smart,” she added.

If there is something in M&S Davao the rest of the 18 stores across the country don’t have, it will be the new features of the M&S shop. “The Davao store will sport a number of firsts- the new UK concept design, the first in the Philippines (tills, fitting room); first store with the new baffled windows; first store with the Tiffany windows; and the first store to have the new mannequin poses not available in the other stores,” shared Lucille.

Davao is excited. More importantly, thanks to Rustan's for making this must-shop-for British brand available in the city, luggage back home will certainly be lighter.

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Published in Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 22, 2012.

all photos courtesy of M&S.