More change at retailer

Marks & Spencer parts company with clothing boss McDonald

Holly Willoughby M&S

TV personality Holly Willoughby has become the face of M&S


Marks & Spencer has parted company with Jill McDonald, managing director of its clothing and home division, after two years attempting to turn it around.

Chief executive Steve Rowe will take over her duties in the short term. In a statement he said Ms McDonald had “set a clear direction for the company.”

Mr Rowe, who recently announced that more stores were likely to close, added: “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.

Ms McDonald, who joined the company in 2017, previously worked at Halfords and McDonald’s, but some questioned the appointment of someone with no experience in fashion retailing.

Availability of stock has been a running problem and at the firm’s annual general meeting on Tuesday Mr Rowe questioned why the company had not been buying enough jeans for a February promotion.

“That led to us having some of the worst availability in casual trousers I’ve seen in my life,” he said.

In May M&S reported its third drop in annual profit in a row, and a 1.6% fall in clothing and home like-for-like sales. Its shares are down 30% from a year ago.

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