M&S casts Britain's top women in campaign for make-or-break range

LONDON Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:13am EDT

LONDON Aug 19 (Reuters) - Marks & Spencer is hoping a high-profile ad campaign featuring some of Britain's biggest female celebrities will boost sales of its make-or-break autumn/winter fashion range when it debuts in September.

The campaign features Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren, former ballerina Darcey Bussell and artist Tracey Emin wearing clothes from the new range, which M&S, Britain's largest clothing retailer, needs to succeed in order to reverse eight straight quarters of declining underlying sales.

The collection focuses on higher quality and more fashionable style, something Marks & Spencer hopes will satisfy its core 45-years-and-over customers while also appealing to younger shoppers.

The new range, which won mostly positive reviews from analysts and the fashion press when it was unveiled in May, arrived in stores and online last month. However, the full launch and advertising push will be in September.

The ad campaign, shot by fashion photographer Annie Leibovitz and announced by M&S on Monday, will be billed under the strapline "Meet Britain's Leading Ladies." It also features boxer Nicola Adams, who won a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, Grace Coddington, the creative director of U.S. Vogue, and singer Ellie Goulding.

"We feel that this campaign is the ideal way to illustrate M&S' move into a new era," said Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, M&S' executive director marketing and business development.

M&S declined to give details about the cost of the advertising campaign.

Shares in M&S, which have risen 26 percent over the last year, were up 1.5 percent at 460.2 pence at 14.23 GMT.

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