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M&S and the glamorous grandparents

M&S and the glamourous grandparents Photo:

He recognised my suit at ten paces, "is it Autograph" he smiled (that's the name of one of the M&S ranges).

It wasn't Autograph and I told him so, but he was right in spotting it was M&S. The Chief Executive, Marc Bolland, is knowledgeable when it comes to menswear. In a flourish he revealed his own suit lining - and gave me an instant briefing on the origin of its textile content (all British).

Marc Bolland is a relaxed and impressive executive with strong retail roots in Morrison's supermarket and Heineken.

His results today show why he may have been happier to focus on men's clothing. In womenswear, often seen as the benchmark of M&S, the news is less bright.

While overall group sales are up 2% clothing is down 0.2%. Experts say the chain was dragged down by its female fashions.

Richard Perks from Mintel told me there is a generation of baby-boomers who want to look glamorous, "people up to around 65 who wouldn't go to Top Shop but still want that kind of look".

This it seems will be the big battleground for Marks.

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