Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 11°C

Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

Marks & Spencer boss Marc Bolland to step down after ‘disappointing’ Christmas sales

09:57 07 January 2016

Mark Bolland  and Steve Rowe of Marks and Spencer.

Mark Bolland and Steve Rowe of Marks and Spencer.

Marks & Spencer revealed today that chief executive Marc Bolland is to retire in April as it reported a plunge in pre-Christmas sales for its fashion division.

Mr Bolland, who has been at the helm of M&S for six years, will be replaced by Steve Rowe, currently head of the chain’s general merchandise business, who has worked at the company for more than a quarter of a century.

Details of the change at the top came as M&S posted a 5.8% fall in like-for-like sales within its general merchandise business, which includes clothing, in the 13 weeks to December 26. The company blamed the weak figure on unusually mild weather and poor stock availability.

Mr Bolland said today it had been “a huge honour to lead one of Britain’s most iconic companies”.

He added: “I am delighted to hand over to Steve Rowe as my successor. I have worked closely with Steve for six years and I am convinced that he will be a great leader for Marks & Spencer.”

Mr Bolland, who took on the post of chief executive in early 2010, will hand over to Mr Rowe at the end of the group’s financial year on April 2, but will remain on hand to help with the handover until the end of June.

Robert Swannell, chairman of M&S, paid tribute to Mr Bolland’s achievements at the top. “Over the last six years Marc Bolland has led Marks & Spencer through a period of necessary change,” he said.

“It is now positioned for a digital age, with its own online platform and dedicated e-commerce distribution centre, improved design and sourcing capabilities in general merchandise and an industry-leading track record of growth and innovation in the food business.”

The announcement comes after further woes in the group’s troubled clothing division, with Mr Bolland admitting the performance over the festive season was “disappointing”.

The decline in like-for-like sales, which followed a 1.9% drop in the previous three months, came as the group resisted pressure to discount early despite widespread sales launched on the high street ahead of Christmas as mild weather hit demand for winter clothing.

However, there was better news from the chain’s food halls, as it hailed its “best ever Christmas”, with a 0.4% rise in like-for-like sales over the quarter to December 26 against challenging conditions in the sector.

There has been speculation over Mr Bolland’s future at M&S for some time as he has battled to turn around the fortunes of the general merchandise division.

He batted away speculation last autumn over plans to depart, but today insisted he had always looked to step down after around six years.

He said: “From the outset I made it clear this was about a five or six-year journey, which is healthy for any chief executive in business.”

He added he remained “passionate” about M&S but stressed: “You’re never finished in your role.”

Mr Bolland said he was ready for the “next stage” in his life, but remained tight-lipped on future plans except to say he will continue on the board of Coca-Cola and as vice-president of children’s charity Unicef.

Mr Rowe will take the post on an annual salary of £810,000, plus benefits and bonuses. He said: “It is a great privilege to be appointed CEO of Marks & Spencer and to have the opportunity to lead this unique company and all its people forward.”

Retail expert Clive Black at Shore Capital said: “Mr Bolland, a distinguished commercial statesman, has done a lot of very good work to fundamentally modernise and reposition M&S to be fit for the future in sustainably challenging markets.

“His successor from April, the excellent Steve Rowe, has a much stronger platform with which to take the business forward than Mr Bolland inherited.”

But he said the performance by M&S’s general merchandise business over the Christmas quarter was “demonstrably disappointing” and weaker even than rival Next, which shocked the market earlier this week with a fall in festive store sales and sharp slowdown in its Directory catalogue and online arm.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Motorcyclist banned

A handyman has lost his driving licence after police saw him speeding on his motorbike while over the drug-drive limit.

Police have been called to a collision between a Ford Focus and a Ford Fiesta near to the Suffolk Ski Centre.

Fraudster must now pay back £183,000

The kingpin behind internet escort and debt elimination scams which fleeced £5.7million from 17,300 victims has had the amount he must pay back reduced from £750,000 to £183,000.

Sir Stanley Rous

Sir Alf Ramsey wasn’t the only Suffolk knight to have a key role in the World Cup Final of 1966.

Team manager Alf Ramsey and trainer Harold Sheperdson (standing) watch England's victory over Germany in the 1966 World Cup

On the 50th anniversary of his greatest triumph, we are today celebrating Sir Alf Ramsey, the man who inspired both Ipswich Town and England to extraordinary levels of success and glory.

Millions of pounds are lost each year in our region due to people wasting medicines. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Suffolk health chiefs are urging people to buy their own treatments after they spent £3.4 million on “wasted medicines” in the past year.

Samuel and Darren Noller at the Eiffel Tower, Paris

A father and son cycling duo raised more than £3,000 for a Suffolk charity helping women struggling with addiction.

Jubilee Meadow and Orchard, in Bredfield, near Woodbridge, received Keep Britain Tidy’s Green Flag Community Award. Planting the young orchard trees on a raw March day.

A Suffolk village will be flying the standard for top quality parks and gardens after receiving Keep Britain Tidy’s Green Flag Community Award.

The 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment marched through Woodbridge Market Hill to mark 10 years of being based just outside the town at Rock Barracks.

Crowds of people lined the streets of a Suffolk town to salute locally based soldiers.

Police are investigating

Police have been called to Thurston Road near Bury St Edmunds this evening after a bull escaped its field and onto the road.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24