New M&S Boss To Take On Big Task Of Boosting Failing Fashion Sales
Marc Bolland, CEO of Marks & Spencer, is stepping down from his position at the age of 56. The news comes after it was reported that the high street giant had suffered a damaging 5.8pc decline in quarterly sales. This came as a result of the unusually warm winter weather, which meant shoppers bought out the store’s stock of lighter winter coats while woolly jumpers remained stubbornly on the shelves. The 13-week run-up to Boxing Day was particularly disappointing for the store, with Mr Bolland commenting that it would have been ‘nice’ if he could have put a halt to the consistent plunge in sales.
M&S Plagued with Problems
Marks & Spencer has also faced a grim time elsewhere in the store, with availability issues and sales in its women’s wear department dropping thanks to hot competition on the high street from stores such as Primark and Zara. The market share, which was at approximately 15.7pc in 1995, sank to 9.5pc in 2015. Mr Bolland introduced new measures to try to improve matters and provide ‘building blocks for growth’; these included improving the store’s supply chain and revamping the website. But even these improvements came with their own set of problems.
Nevertheless, despite the issues that have arisen with the retail giant, Mr Bolland did not confirm that his retirement was directly due to the disappointing decline. He stated instead that his decision to step down was part of a five-year succession plan discussed with the chairman Robert Swannell back in 2010, and that he had been planning to leave as soon as the right successor was located.
Rowe Steps In
Such a successor has now been found. The man set to replace Mr Bolland is Steve Rowe, 47, the current executive director of general merchandise and a long-serving employee of the store, with 25 years under his belt. During his lengthy career at M&S, Rowe has served on the shop floor, worked as a merchandiser and run the homewear department. He also took over the food aspect of the business and became head of retail and director of the online business. As a result, he has a lot of experience to bring to the table, though he will undoubtedly have his work cut out from him in his bid to rescue the currently floundering retailer. Rowe is said to be well liked by his fellow M&S colleagues, and he has a good sense of humour. It will be interesting to see how he fares as he brings a new approach to the running of this massive business.