Christmas countdown for rival high street retailers

 
Stephan Shakespeare
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AS we move into the final countdown to Christmas, our high street department stores are pulling out all the stops. Looking back over 2012, the race between Marks & Spencer and John Lewis has never been tighter.

YouGov’s BrandIndex highlights how the two brands began the year with six points separating their Index scores – an aggregate of the brand’s perception across seven different metrics including value, satisfaction and quality.

Yet as we enter the Christmas period, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer are separated by just half a point.

TOUGH YEAR FOR M&S
Marks & Spencer has evidently suffered a difficult year, with its BrandIndex score falling five points since the start of 2012, while John Lewis has remained steady.

FASHION CHIEF DEPARTS
During the month of July, Marks & Spencer recorded its weakest quarter since spring 2005 and saw the departure of fashion chief, Kate Bostock – this same month the brand lost five index points.

While recovering quickly during August, the brand has still not regained its original ground above John Lewis.

Comparing the Buzz scores we can measure what consumers have heard about the brands over the same period.

Marks & Spencer’s Buzz scores, for example, saw a dramatic 19 point decline during July.

Despite regaining nearly all of those points in the run up to November, with the score increasing from six to 22 points, Marks & Spencer is seeing its scores fall again, losing a further eight points during the month of November despite the launch of its hotly anticipated Christmas advert.

SNOW-BUSINESS LIKE CHRISTMAS
Unfortunately for Marks & Spencer, John Lewis’ snowman advert has taken the brand to increasing heights of Buzz.

Mentions of John Lewis reached the newsfeeds of over half of the UK Twitter population in the three days following the launch of its advert.

During November, John Lewis has already gained three extra Buzz points.

As a result, it is possible that we could see John Lewis overtake Marks & Spencer in the eyes of the public during this Christmas period.

Stephan Shakespeare is the chief executive of YouGov