Thousands of shoppers are calling for the latest M&S promotion to be banned amidst huge backlash.
Taking to its Facebook page, M&S confirmed its "Little Shop" event was back and available from its Food Halls.
Its "Little Shop" allows customers who spend £20 or more at its stores to receive one mini collectible item. There are 26 minis to collect in total.
However, there is now a petition in place, signed by around 6,700 people at the time of publication, to stop the event from running after many shoppers felt the retailer had not lived up to its promise of reducing plastic.
Back in 2019 its first Little Shop event was launched, and M&S received a huge backlash from customers who felt like the promotion was producing needless plastic waste, while others complained about the high cost.
M&S says it has now taken last year's feedback on board. Replying to one concerned shopper, M&S said: "Thanks for your feedback.
"Our minis have all been made using durable materials and have been designed to last. We listened to customer feedback from last year and have taken action to make even more of our minis – over a third of the range – from sustainable paper and card where possible.
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"We’ve ensured the rest of the minis are made from recycled old washing machines, fridges and bottles to give the plastic a new purpose.
"This year, we've also created lots of fun games and inspiration on our website to keep kids entertained for years to come."
According to the petition, shoppers are also concerned that the promotion has been launched during the current coronavirus pandemic.
A description on its page says: "A serious additional problem with Little Shop 2 is that it has been launched during the current Covid19 pandemic.
"This is already tempting shielding vulnerable people to visit M&S Stores, plus M&S are also encouraging customers to reuse them by passing them onto friends and family for them to play with, which could mean transmission of the virus.
"Please sign this petition to ask M&S to stop this promotion."
Since M&S shared its Facebook post it has received more than 1,000 comments.
Commenting underneath M&S' post on Facebook, one user said: "This is a terrible idea – shocked you brought it back again after so many people complained about it last year."
Another said: "What a load of rubbish. Quite literally. More plastic tat to litter the beaches and oceans. I'm disappointed in you, M and S."
A third said: "I cannot think why Marks and Spencer are endorsing this *little shop* promotion.
"As one of the oldest companies in the British Isles, Marks and Spencer should be looking at cutting down the plastic waste which is what this is, in the same way that McDonald's used to include a lot of plastic toys in their happy meals..this is all very quaint, but a complete waste and where will all this plastic end up?"
However, there were some customers excited to see the return of the Little Shop. One user said: "I love the little shop promotion. I get to play shops with the little people in my life.
"The seeds promotion has to be my favourite though, I have grown basil for the first time ever. Marks and Spencer, keep up the good work."
Another said: "We got our first one yesterday at my little boy is so excited as we still play with the last lots and lots."
And a third said: "My four year old was delighted to get this,now it’s something he wants to collect. I just think £20 is a bit much to have to spend to get it!"