Belfast Telegraph

M&S clothing boss quits following ‘troubled year’

Jill McDonald leaves with immediate effect after two years with the retailer

Jill McDonald has left her role at MandS (PA)
Jill McDonald has left her role at MandS (PA)

The head of clothing and home at Marks & Spencer has quit after less than two years with the company.

Jill McDonald’s immediate departure means day-to-day running of the key division will be taken over by M&S chief executive Steve Rowe – a post he previously held prior to taking the top job.

Ms McDonald, who is a former chief executive of Halfords and boss of fast-food chain McDonald’s in the UK, has struggled to turn around the almost continuous decline of M&S’s clothing division.

At the company’s annual shareholder meeting earlier this week, Mr Rowe told investors it had been a “troubled year” for her division, pointing out how a jeans promotion in February failed when customers did not buy enough stock.

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Jill McDonald, head of clothes and home at MandS, quits after two years (IHG / PA)

He said the problem meant M&S had “the worst availability in casual clothes I have ever seen in my life”.

On Thursday, he said: “Jill was brought in to establish a strong platform for the transformation of the clothing and home business.

“She has achieved that; she leaves with my thanks and good wishes for the future.

“She has recruited a talented team, improved the quality and style of product and set a clear direction for the business to attract a younger family age customer.

“The business now needs to move on at pace to address long-standing issues in our clothing and home supply chain around availability and flow of product. Given the importance of this task to M&S, I will be overseeing this programme directly.”

In the year to March 30, M&S revealed her division saw sales fall by 3.6% – or 1.6% on a like-for-like basis – with the company blaming “weak availability in Q4 as we sold out of fast-selling lines and experienced supply issues”.

At one point Ms McDonald was tipped as a potential successor to Mr Rowe.

At the time of her appointment, Mr Rowe said he had hired Ms McDonald for her “first-class customer knowledge and great experience in running dynamic, high-achieving teams”.

She remains a non-executive at Holiday Inn owner IHG.

PA

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