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The importance of the shop building

From the very early days of the Penny Bazaars there's been an awareness of the importance of branding at M&S. These photographs show four different stores from the early 1910s to the 1930s; if they were in colour you'd be able to see that the M&S signage at Newton Abbott and Edgware Road was painted in red and gold. 

Significant changes were made to the appearance of stores in the 1920s as the Penny Bazaars were phased out. The red and gold became green and gold, and staff uniforms were introduced to make sure that whichever M&S you visited, you would always be greeted by a familiar sight.

The later buildings of the 1930s were much grander than the Penny Bazaars, their architecture being typical for the period.

The was a huge amount of activity in store development and renovation during the 1960s. In St Michael News, December 1960, Simon Marks said: 

'We are continuing to transform our stores into fine modern shopping centres. Many of you have seen how your own store has changed in character and appearance. The greater selling area now available has enabled us to display a more extensive variety of ST. MICHAEL goods. I know that you are as glad as I am to note the speedy reaction of the public; how they have welcomed these impressive changes which make shopping so comfortable and agreeable. In our rebuilding plans we naturally take into account your comfort and well-being by the provision of new and delightful staff quarters, which I hope give you pleasure.'

In October 1968 alone, three new stores opened at Crawley, Hamilton and Tooting, and 17 other stores were extended and renovated. This video made in 1968 of the M&S Tooting store shows how much the stores had changed since 1884.

You can see the colour of signs on the next page.


Signage - display information
Penny Bazaar - the name given to the first M&S stores
Newton Abbot - a town in Devon
Edgeware Road - a road in London
Architecture - the process of planning and designing a building

Download the M&S Birth of a Brand timeline.

Try out some of the discussion and actvity ideas for this resource