M&S Improves Clothing Team in An Attempt to ‘Become More Relevant’

By GianniM (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Marks & Spencer has recently overhauled the management team in the clothing division of the company, as Jill McDonald, the new boss of the ailing unit which took over last October, aims to reposition the said unit to “become more relevant to more people.”

The former chief executive of Debenhams and Jaeger, Belinda Earl, is among those who will be stepping down from their posts at the retailer.

Last Summer, Earl was awarded an OBE for her services to retail. She has served as the style director for Marks & Spencer’s. However, in January, she was also requested to head up the womenswear and beauty departments of Marks & Spencer on an interim basis.

On Monday, the retailer said that Earl was stepping away from her commercial role, even though she would still “continue to work in an advisory role and sit on the board.”

Marks & Spencer said that the menswear & kidswear director, Michael Kerr, and the womenswear & lingerie design director, Queralt Ferrer, would also be stepping down from the group.

McDonald is the managing director of the clothing & home units of M&S. She stated: “M&S Clothing is transforming. We’re crystal clear on the challenge.

“We must become more relevant to more people offering the right products at the right prices to appeal to our core customers and attract new ones.”

The recent clear-out is the most recent in a string of reshuffles in the management of the company, which have seen Marks & Spencer lose its store & online operations head, its finance officer, and clothing & beauty director since September of 2016.

Meanwhile, last week, the company ousted Andy Adcock, its food boss, to make way for Stuart Machin, a supermarket industry veteran.

On Monday, Marks & Spencer said that it had decided to merge its kidswear and womenswear teams, and was hiring Jill Stanton to be head of the new bigger division. Previously, Stanton worked as the executive vice president at Old Navy.

Wes Taylor was previously the managing director of the Burton business of Arcadia. He will become the head of the menswear division of Marks & Spencer’s.

The overhaul of the clothing team of the company comes only more than four months following the announcement of Marks & Spencer regarding a five-year transformation plan, under which it said that it would close underperforming shops and downsize some other stores. The company has struggled to adapt to shoppers who are moving online, posting only a 3 percent increase in sales over the festive period as compared to the wider industry growth of 8 percent.