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Marks & Spencer Trains Staff for Back-to-School Shoe Fittings

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is taking a hands-on approach to back-to-school shoe sales.

Taking customer service cues from the independent channel, the U.K. retail chain introduced dedicated footwear fitting advisors in 36 stores to help parents find the right shoe for their children.

M&S sells a quarter of million school shoes a year, including 30,000 during the month of August alone.

It is the first time M&S has offered this service, with training being rolled out to 750 employees to ensure they can offer assistance and advice on measurement, fit and style. Employees received fitting training to understanding the development of the foot from baby through to teen.

M&S also introduced a printable fitting guide to help parents make accurate online shoe purchases.

The new service launches as the College of Podiatry has released research showing 29 percent of British children could be wearing shoes which are completely the wrong size.

“Our customers have told us that offering a fitting advice service will give them the confidence to make that important purchase with us and if the trial is successful we hope to offer this service at even more of our stores in the future,” said Niamh De Frinse, M&S kids’ footwear technologist.

The shoe fitting trial is part of M&S’s continued effort to enhance customers’ in-store experiences. The retailer recently increased investment for bra fittings and recruited 3,000 employees for departments that require one-on-one service like suit fitting.