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So, what was your holiday season missing? Was it a gingerbread musical house? Or a Percy Pig biscuit tin?

I thought so.

Then fear not, because U.S. retail giant Target has teamed up with that most quintessential of British brands, Marks & Spencer, to offer its customers a small range of festive products in Target
TGT
stores and online.

The Christmas-themed food and beverage items, which have just become available, are priced between $7.99 and $14.99 after an initiative known internally as ‘Project Wildcat’, which sees the products displayed on M&S freestanding fixtures.

Target signage says: “Introducing Marks & Spencer Food, beautifully crafted treats imported from Britain and loved around the world.”

The two retailers said that the curated selection of 15 products is being “anchored by items that signal the joy of the holiday season” featuring products offered “in exquisite and interactive packaging.”

“One of the things that differentiates Target is the way we make style affordable and accessible for all and this partnership is the latest example of us building on that legacy in food and beverage,” says Target executive vice president, Rick Gomez, of the initiative.

“By joining forces with an iconic brand like M&S, we’re bringing our guests amazing products and giving them another reason to turn to Target for the moments of joy that make the holidays special.”

Christmas Treats From M&S

The entire collection includes everything from “caramels and chocolates to biscuits and teas,” including:

  • Santa’s Magical Light Up Chocolate Workshop ($7.99): “Includes mini snow dusted milk, dark, and white chocolate houses with a dazzling light-up festive scene inside the lid.”
  • The Shortbread Biscuit Light-Up Lantern ($9.99) “isn’t just a festive decoration, it also includes a pack of delicious and buttery shortbread shapes inside.”
  • The Gingerbread Musical House Tin ($9.99) “is filled with tiny luxury gingerbread houses and plays a festive tune.”
  • Finally, the Shortbread Biscuit Bus Tin ($14.99), which is “shaped like a red double-decker London bus featuring adorable illustrations and filled with shortbread biscuits.”

Target says the merchandise should remain available through the 2022 holiday season.

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For Marks & Spencer, the initiative may prove a much-needed seasonal dose of good cheer after the retailer reported November 9 that half-year profits fell by almost a quarter after higher costs and pressure on household budgets hit its bottom line.

M&S Half-Year Profits Hit

M&S underlying pre-tax profits slumped to $243.4 million in the six months to October 1 as the retailer was impacted by investing in food prices and higher costs, as well as more difficult trading in its Ocado retail joint venture.

Despite the decline, M&S said that it saw “robust” sales across its food and clothing and home categories but warned of “more challenging” trading ahead and admitted that it was looking to cut costs by around $180 million in 2023-24 to offset soaring inflation and challenging market conditions in the U.K.

Apparel and home was the “standout performer”, with like-for-like sales surging 13.7% and total apparel and home sales up 14%, store sales up 18.8%, and online up 4.9% against strong comparatives. Adjusted operating profit was $203.1 million in the division thanks to a “strong sales growth and full price mix”.

Meanwhile, like-for-likes rose 3% in the M&S food business and total food sales were up 5.6%. However, adjusted operating profits fell to $85.1 million in food “reflecting value investment and cost pressures”.

“We’re confident there’s a good Christmas ahead of us. Our customers have told us that they’re trying to protect their Christmas spend and are making lifestyle adjustments to ensure family celebrations remain special. Christmas food remains their top spending priority and M&S is a brand they can trust to deliver,” M&S CEO Stuart Machin said.

“Looking beyond the current stormy weather, much is in our control and our mandate is clear – to step up the pace, accelerate change, drive a simpler, leaner business and invest in growth opportunities to build a reshaped M&S.”

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