M&S bids for big slice of £30bn giftware market

Marks & Spencer has launched a comprehensive gift registry in an effort to scoop up a larger share of the booming gifts market.

The retailer hopes to become the store of choice for presents of all sorts, and use the power of a multi-channel offer to take more of a market worth£30 billion, according to TNS GiftTrak.

Using a gift list created by the recipient, shoppers will be able to buy in-store using special terminals in 220 shops, over the phone or via the Internet. Customers will have access to about 600,000 SKUs excluding food.

Some 63 larger stores have also been equipped with hand-held scanners, allowing customers compiling lists to select from products in-store.

Channel development manager Steve Wind-Mozley said the new service took M&S beyond catering just for the wedding market into 'birthdays, christenings, bar mitzvahs - whatever.'

He added: 'The service is not just limited to our homeware offer. You can have kettles, toasters, bedding and clothing, and it's all backed up by the M&S brand rather than tertiary brands.' There will also be a home delivery service.

The strategy will complement the limited gift delivery service launched last year, and is likely to be a blow for department stores and Argos, which have so far cornered the gift registry market - particularly for weddings.

Wind-Mozley said M&S expected to announce further plans for its assault on the gift market later this year.