Marks & Spencer will soon offer its customers the option to “buy now, pay later” according to its chief executive Steve Rowe.
Rowe told an investor meeting earlier this week that the UK’s largest clothing retailer was set to introduce a new payment scheme in a bid to modernise its struggling fashion business.
This “tactical action” is part of a continuing turnaround effort at the retailer, which crashed out of the FTSE 100 last month following seven years of falling fashion sales.
Despite its efforts, Rowe admitted that its fashion turnaround strategy was “18 months” behind schedule, with problems dogging its womenswear business leading to its clothing boss Jill McDonald being ousted in July.
“This move from Marks & Spencer is a clear indicator that high-street retailers are feeling pressure from online competitors, and are looking for ways to match their convenience for consumers,” Fujitsu’s director of retail and hospitality Paul Kirkland said.
“With seasonal sales and in-store events no longer driving footfall, it’s crucial that retailers evaluate everything from their online strategy and the technologies supporting this, to supply chain and store autonomy, to ensure they can recapture high-street custom, while competing effectively in the ecommerce space.”
Buy now, pay later schemes have scene a meteoric rise to popularity in recent years, with third party companies like Klarna helping retailers meet the increasing demand.
Klarna is now worth $5.5 billion making it Europe’s largest private fintech startup and the eighth most valuable private fintech company in the world.
It is now used by 60 million consumers across 130,000 merchant partners and boasts one million daily transactions while nudging $1 billion in annual revenues.