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Today, M&S has completed the rollout of its ‘Sparks Book & Shop’ online reservation service to all its 566 Foodhalls & larger stores containing Foodhalls, meaning the service is now available UK wide for Sparks customers.

M&S is first major UK retailer to rollout appointment shopping to help customers plan ahead with reserved shopping slots

The service allows customers to use M&S’s website to book a guaranteed slot to shop at their local M&S store – removing the need to queue when they arrive (should there be one). Start times are allocated in 30-minute intervals and on arrival, customers (one person per household) simply check-in with the friendly hosts at the entrance of their local store. The service has been trialled in 80 stores across Scotland and Wales following increased restrictions in those regions.

Helen Milford, M&S Stores Director said: 

“With winter ahead, we know customers are increasingly concerned about queuing, so in response, we wanted to deliver a quick, digital solution to help them shop. Designed by our in-house tech teams - Book & Shop does just that, helping Sparks customers guarantee a slot at a time that suits them and removing the need to queue should there be one. Of course customers will always be able to visit M&S without a slot but we hope this is a small way we can help make things a little easier for our customers.”

‘Sparks Book & Shop’ allows M&S door hosts to carefully manage the number of customers in store at any time – booking in customers with allocated slots and counting-in customers who have not reserved. M&S remains committed to limiting the number of customers in store and is still using a counting app at every store to ensure social distancing can be maintained. 

Dominic Roberts, M&S Pontardulais Store Manager (where the service was trialled) said:

“We’re still all in this together and the whole Pontardulais team have been working hard to keep our customers and each other safe & well. At a time when it’s been hard to plan ahead, customers like the certainty of being able to book a slot and we’ve received great feedback about the service - especially as restrictions have increased.” 

- Ends -

For further information, please contact: 

Notes to Editors:

Further Detail 

Feedback from the trials has been exceptional which led to the accelerated rollout. Customer commentary includes 

  • “It was excellent, no issues; was able to shop with ease and avoid the queue. Will definitely be using this every week”
  • “Very grateful for the Book & Shop facility recently introduced, better than queuing in the rain.”
  • “I booked a slot to take my mother shopping. Following an accident combined with lockdown, she has not been out the house since March. It was amazing to be able to book a slot and avoid queuing. Brilliant initiative.”

M&S is focused on helping customers shop with confidence now and through the festive season and as part of this has shared its Christmas promises – from delivering new digital solutions to make shopping easier, offering a safe and clean place to shop to giving peace of mind with extended returns. 

  • All M&S Foodhalls – both stand alone and those within larger stores that also sell Clothing & Home – will remain open in England with all the measures in place. 
  • A friendly host at the entrance to welcome customers in and manage each store’s maximum capacity.
  • Hand sanitiser available at the front door (and in other parts of the store).
  • Extensive signage & floor markings throughout the store to remind everyone to give each other the space they need and to make it easier to find products.
  • Perspex screens at tills with clear signage encouraging contactless payments (up to the increased limit of £45).
  • Mobile Pay Go available at selected stores so customers can pay for their shopping on their smartphone without needing to visit a checkout.
  • Face coverings must be worn by customers shopping in our stores unless they have a medical exemption.