Monday, March 17, 2014

Review: The New Improved Marks and Spencer Next to Missoni Hotel

Marks & Spencer has opened its largest international store at The View (next to Missoni Hotel), Salmiya, Kuwait.

The new 72,000 sq ft flagship store operated by Marks & Spencer’s long term franchise partner Al-Futtaim group is in line with the retailer’s international strategy to build a strong presence in the Middle East, said a statement.

The store was opened by Omar Al Futtaim, chairman of Al-Futtaim Group, and Marc Bolland, Marks & Spencer chief executive.

Al-Futtaim now operates 26 Marks & Spencer stores across eight territories in the region.

The new store brings the largest offering of clothing, food, beauty and home products in the region, including a renowned in-store Café that serves up delicious breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea meals. It ensures a bigger and better shopping environment and unparalleled customer service, the statement said.

Bolland said: “We’re delighted to officially open our largest international store in Kuwait today. The Middle East is a priority market for Marks & Spencer and through our successful partnership with Al-Futtaim we are continuing to build our presence here. As one of the world’s leading shopping mall owners and retail operators, Al-Futtaim offers us invaluable retail expertise and access to prime shopping locations like The View. This together with Marks & Spencer’s exceptional quality fashions and food offers something truly special for our customers in Kuwait.”

“We are proud to be part of a Kuwaiti society that is fashion forward and enjoys our truly international shopping experience and exceptional quality, innovative product offer. Through the introduction of Marks & Spencer’s largest store outside of the UK and Ireland, customers in Kuwait can now shop our most extensive fashion collections while also sampling the best of authentic English cuisine our M&S Café has to offer,” said John Cooper, managing director of Marks & Spencer Al-Futtaim group Mena. – TradeArabia News Service

LWDLIK - Was dying to pop by and see the new store so went along on Sunday. Initial reaction was mixed. The big, glass, bubble building reminded me a public swimming pool centre back in UK. Couldn't get into the tiny front parking, as it was full, so parked behind. Part of the building is still under construction so had to walk all the way around to get to the entrance, presumably at a later date, there will be access from the aft parking lot too. Did notice there is to be underground parking which, although isn't open yet, will be very convenient. 

Wow! It's huge, airy and beautifully laid out on four floors. Still only a small selection of kids clothing and not many kids shoes (I was looking for school shoes and there were none). But a huge range of lovely ladies clothing, a fabulous collection of lingerie, a whole floor of menswear, teeny selection of homeware, an aromatic bakery enticing all; sadly only a few breads and some baked goods. And there's a coffee shop. Didn't fancy anything on the quite extensive menu, very unlike me, I think I may have been too eager to get shopping. My double expresso was fairly priced but too bitter for my liking and didn't come with a biscuit on the side - not that I would have known it was to have one but the barista and the supervisor discussed it in front of me, offered no apology for the fact that they had run out. So then I felt miffed because I hadn't got the biscuit that I didn't know I was supposed to get. Was it an almond cookie or a mini brownie I should have had. I got a little obsessed with what could have, should have been. Tried to down the coffee but it really wasn't that good.

Liked that almost the whole store can be seen from the coffee shop which means when I lose my daughter (happens frighteningly often) or my husband (who I think tries to lose me) then I can go sit up there and wait for them to find me. Still not happy that they can't black out the UK sterling prices as I hate seeing what I could have paid for items.

Loved the Lyn Harris perfumes, bought some lovely shoes, t-shirts, stocked up on extortionately marked up tights and had to have the high heel gel insoles as my feet were killing me. Put them immediately into my shoes and wore them home - had instant relief and look forward to giving them a pounding on Friday. May have to go back and buy them all.

Overall a good shopping experience.

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