Replacing Waterloo’s M&S Simply Food, the new store is officially the largest M&S to open in a railway station
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Train stations aren’t always the sexiest of locations for new franchise stores to call their home. Even when you package in a truly enormous floor plan and embedded tech, you can’t really imagine any location managed by Network Rail to be home to anything that exciting. But the latest franchise to open its doors to London’s commuters has got a special extra something to get people’s juices flowing. This isn’t just any franchise; it’s an M&S franchise.
Located smack dab in the heart of London’s Waterloo station and launched with M&S franchise partner SSP, the new store spans 883 sq m across two floors, representing the largest general merchandise offering in any railway station. Having taken over from the M&S Simply Local that formerly stood there, it aims to attract consumers on the basis of convenience food downstairs and upmarket clothing upstairs, meaning customers can as easily grab a baguette from its bakery as a waistcoat from its menswear section.
But the new store isn’t aiming to impress purely on scale alone; M&S is also eager to embed an element of tech in its new outlet. The Waterloo store features both an ordering screen and an ordering point that will allow customers to make orders in person or pick them out online before collecting in-store. Following this trial, Marks & Sparks will eventually be looking to roll this feature out in all of its locations.
“Having operated M&S Simply Food at busy stations and airports across the UK for many years, SSP has a strong track record in managing retail outlets in the travel sector, a sound understanding of the needs of our customers and logistics of the station environment,” said Simon Smith, CEO UK and Ireland at SSP. “This made us the ideal partners for M&S and Network Rail as we embark on this exciting new venture.”
Steve Kemp, head of food operations and hospitality at Marks & Spencer, said: “We are delighted to be opening M&S’s largest station store alongside our long-standing franchise partner, SSP. We look forward to bringing our innovative food and stylish clothing lines to all those who use or work at the station.”
So if you’re travelling through Waterloo and have a hankering for cravats or a drop of Darjeeling, you know where to go.