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Marks & Spencer admit to deliberately limiting stock levels

Marsk & Spencer pink coat

Marks & Spencer pink coat

Remember THAT Marks & Spencer pink coat? The one we showed you as part of our Autumn/Winter 2013 preview, and which has been described by some as one of the big style hits of the season?

Remember how that coat was absolutely impossible to get hold of, selling out the second it hit the M&S website? There is a reason for that, and it’s not JUST that it was a great coat: no, the reason you couldn’t buy that coat for love nor money was also due to the fact that Marks & Spencer deliberately limited availability of it, and other items in their recent lineup, in order to promote exclusivity of the brand. Admitting the tactic this week, M&S Chief Executive Marc Bolland said:

“Some garments, you do not want more than 3,000. You do not want 40,000 of the same coats walking around. That is probably not the way to also create some of the stylishness… The pink coat came back in different colours and it is still very popular. You want to give people a new experience after that. We said that we will certainly have a number of lines that will be a bit more selectively bought.”

Of course, this is far from a new approach, and we’re willing to bet that Marks & Spencer aren’t the only brand using it. The logic, after all, is pretty simple: the harder something is to get, the more people will want it. This is why those “rare” items sell for so much money on eBay, and why shoppers are willing to devote a whole lot of time, effort and money to tracking down that “must have” product. If you could walk into any branch of M&S in the country and find rail upon rail of those pink coats, they might not seem quite as appealing to you: after all, not many people want to walk around wearing exactly the same thing as everyone else in the country.

Marc Bolland claims the tactic isn’t annoying to shoppers. We want to know if you think he’s right. Do you find it frustrating to see something you love online, or in a magazine, and then not be able to buy it? Or do you appreciate the fact that stock of some items is limited, so that not everyone ends up wearing the same pink coat?

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