New M&S boss vows to reverse clothing fortunes - UK
IOL Business - Apr 11th 2016, 08:48
London - Marks & Spencer's new boss on Thursday vowed to leave no stone unturned in his quest to overturn the high-street stalwart's “unsatisfactory” performance in clothing following yet another slump in womenswear sales.
Steve Rowe, who took over as chief executive earlier this week, said improving clothing and homeware was at the top of his to-do list after the retailer revealed a 2.7 percent decline in same-store sales in its fourth quarter. That was slightly better than expected and an improvement on the 5.8 percent drop over Christmas, but the M&S veteran said it remained “unsatisfactory and there is still more we need to do”.
“We were not being as stylish as we needed to be, we did not have products available when [customers] wanted them and we needed to make sure we had the right products in the right places,” he added.
Rowe, who will maintain control of the general merchandise business - a department he ran previously and which contributes about 60 per cent of M&S's profits - said some improvements, including price reductions and quality upgrades, were already beginning to show through, but that a strategic review was under way.
“There's an awful lot of self-help M&S can do? We're not leaving a stone unturned.” He will present his findings when M&S posts its full-year results next month.
M&S shares rose 12.6p to 433p, as investors appeared to give Mr Rowe, who began his career as a Saturday boy in M&S in Croydon, a chance to revive the 132-year-old retailer.
“While it is only an act of faith, he is an executive that we are minded to back, one with the commitment, energy and insight to demonstrably take M&S on a better course, something for which long-standing shareholders pine,” Shore Capital's Clive Black said.From © Independent On-line 2016. All rights reserved.
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