Belfast Telegraph

M&S boss says recovery plan firmly on course

Marc Bolland, Marks & Spencer's chief executive, has said that the retail giant had "bench strength" in its management team as he showcased the latest phase of the high street giant's recovery plan.

In an X Factor-style speech which had no fewer than 15 references to M&S's "journey", Bolland claimed its new management team, including style director Belinda Earl, formerly of Debenhams, and former Estee Lauder executive Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, who runs business development at M&S, showed "we have bench strength across the management – its not just a three or four-man band".

M&S posted its smallest profits since 2009 this spring, but Bolland claimed that two years into its resuscitation plan M&S had "seen substantive turnarounds.

He said the new womenswear range, featuring leather skirts and with 90% of dresses having sleeves "due to popular demand", was "not make or break" but about direction.

Bolland set out plans for better store layouts, saying brands such as Per Una had previously "made the rest of womenswear look like the orphan in the room".

He said M&S had also trained 10,000 staff via a "fashion camp".

That's on top of the expensive-looking ad campaign featuring the likes of Dame Helen Mirren and Tracey Emin, but in response to analyst concerns, Bolland said it was cheaper than a normal campaign as it focused on print, outdoor and digital, not TV.

Belfast Telegraph