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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 December, 2004, 12:48 GMT
Bored shoppers offered a 'creche'
The M&S 'Christmas Creche' for male shoppers
Christmas shopping doesn't have to be stressful
Men bored with trudging around the shops at Christmas can now take refuge in a "creche" where they can watch TV and play games.

Marks & Spencer has created areas in six stores, equipped with everything to keep men entertained for hours.

From Thursday, shoppers can sit on sofas, watch TV and play with Scalextric and remote control bikes.

The creches will be based in stores in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Gateshead, Cardiff, London and Sheffield.

Providing a place where customers can chill out and relax is a fun way to give something back
Clare Wilkes, M&S

The creches will show a selection of TV and films including Monty Python and classic football matches.

"We recognise that tensions can sometimes be high when couples go shopping together at Christmas. Some men object to traipsing around a shop and waiting outside changing rooms," M&S spokeswoman Clare Wilkes told BBC News.

"Providing a place where customers can chill out and relax is a fun way to give something back."

Reluctant shoppers

Marks & Spencer's move is the latest bid by a major retailer to win over reluctant Christmas shoppers.

Retailers are resorting to savage price cuts, amid increasing fears that shoppers are reining back spending this Christmas as rising mortgage rates cut into disposable cash.

Last week, M&S held a one-day "Christmas spectacular" when in-store prices were cut by 20% to boost sales.

High Street stores such as Dixons, Argos, WH Smith, Debenhams, House of Fraser and Boots have also jumped on the bandwagon, cutting prices in the run up to the Christmas trading season.

Your Comments:

The best option is not to go into town at all and buy everything at home on the 'net.
Don Hughes, Basingstoke

As if my wife would let me sneak off to watch football and play Scalextric! How would she cope without my valuable input into the decision making process?
Anthony Gilbert, Leeds, England

In my experience women like to browse more. Men tend to be target shoppers going to a specific store, making their purchase and moving on.Some men and women tend to have researched or done their browsing on the internet. It's less tiring than doing it physically for real as reflected in the poor Christmas High Street spending by customers.
Kevin Finn, United Kingdom

Brilliant. Just add wireless broadband and I can nip down and get some sandwiches and crisps, perhaps a beer or two. Only need to go home when Xmas is over...
Chris Powell, London, UK

Good idea in principle but the suggested activities may be insulting or patronising to some men, it suggests that all men want to do is watch TV or play with 'boys toys'. What about adding the latest bestsellers or an internet cafe?
Claire Stevens, Stoke on Trent

If you're just going to run off as soon as you hit the shops don't bother going in the first place! Stay at home and watch the footy in the comfort of your own armchair!
Paul Le Page, Guernsey, Channel Islands

My girlfriend is going to the Gateshead (Metro Centre) branch tonight - maybe I should go along to "help"...
Gordon, Newcastle, UK

This is ridiculous! Blokes are useless enough as it is when it comes to shopping, without providing even more distraction from the task at hand!
Beck, Cardiff

Creches for men - great idea! When are the High Street retailers going to realise that shoppers are not thick and we know that at some point they will crack and reduce their prices - hence the delay for the Christmas shopping "surge". Just give us sensible prices now and ditch the buy two get one free insult, they'll be amazed at how long we can hold out next year.
Cath Halliwell-Rawnsley, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Can women use the creche too? Do they have 'gender bouncers' on the door, who checks that you really are male before you can enter?
Jen, London, UK

I understand why they've done, but the execution does seem to be pandering just a little much towards gender stereotypes!
Stephanie, Edinburgh, Scotland




SEE ALSO:
M&S denies food store sale plan
29 Nov 04 |  Business
M&S unveils management shake-up
09 Nov 04 |  Business
M&S starts share buyback scheme
25 Oct 04 |  Business
M&S share buyback wins approval
22 Oct 04 |  Business
M&S says sales fall now slowing
12 Oct 04 |  Business


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