Young shoppers seeking trendy vintage pieces at a superior quality are rushing online to snap up second-hand items from Marks & Spencer’s St Michael label on eBay and Depop.
Second-hand pieces from the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties have become hugely popular with young British fashion lovers, with more than 14,000 St Michael pieces listed online.
Many of the items have held or increased in value since they were originally on sale in M&S stores, with vintage expert Hannah Stacpoole telling the Telegraph: ‘It is common knowledge though among traders that St Michael items are long lasting and great quality. It is incredible to see the quality considering they were sold at high-street prices.’
It comes weeks after M&S announced it will axe 7,000 jobs as part of a further shake-up of its stores and management in the face of the coronavirus crisis.
The St Michael pieces, all of which boast of being over 20 years old, are considered genuinely vintage by online shoppers.
Many have held their value or been boosted by those attracted to second-hand shopping.
While a pussybow blouse which cost £17 when originally sold is now listed online as selling for £20, a prairie dress which was £5.99 in the Seventies is now selling for £49.99.
Meanwhile it’s not just eBay shoppers who are snapping up bargains, with hundreds of listings for St Michael on the Depop app.
Sellers even hashtag their posts with high street brands like Weekday, New Look and Topshop in order to attract shoppers to the ‘vintage’ St Michael brand.
Hannah, who is the founder of salutolondon.com, an online vintage store, said she had seen a recent uptick in sales of the brand.
She credited the increase in part to a growth of Instagram or Depop sellers that have emerged during lockdown and helped by sustainable shoppers seeking quality second-hand clothing at an affordable price.
She added: ‘I often have younger customers who are unaware that the two are the same brand.’
Meanwhile the vintage expert explained that young shoppers are particularly seeking current trends, such as slip dresses, velvet jackets and pussy bow blouses.
And Jennifer Mitchell McNally, owner of Liverpool’s Overdressed Vintage boutique, agreed, saying the items are ‘of the utmost quality.’
She added: ‘Whenever I source some, they’re never in stock for long.’
The St Michael brand, which was originally registered in 1928, was discontinued by M&S at the end of 1999 after its profits had dropped by 50 per cent that year.
The upsurge in demand for the vintage label comes after Marks & Spencer revealed it will axe 7,000 jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The London-based retail giant revealed the bulk of the cuts would be made across its stores, hitting around 12 per cent of its 60,000 shop-based staff, as well as a smaller number of support centre and regional management workers.
M&S, which employs 85,000 people worldwide, expects a ‘significant’ number of roles will be cut through voluntary departures and early retirement.
It had already begun a significant restructuring before the pandemic hit, shutting under-performing stores and boosting its online sales.
The coronavirus outbreak has now accelerated those plans.
It comes as M&S revealed total sales in its hard-hit clothing and home arm plunged 29.9 per cent in the eight weeks since shops reopened.