Marks & Spencer is one of the most revered names in UK retail but for more than a decade has found life tough, particularly in clothing, which, along with food, is a foundation stone of the business.
The retailer’s difficulties made it the subject of bid interest from Arcadia tycoon Sir Philip Green in the early 2000s. Former M&S director Lord Stuart Rose was parachuted in to fend off Green and managed to partially restore its fortunes.
In 2010, Rose was succeeded as chief executive by Marc Bolland who had formerly won praise for the turnaround of grocer Morrisons.
However, M&S failed to make progress in apparel during Bolland’s tenure and remains in turnaround mode.
In recent years, M&S has focused on building its digital business and has rationalised its store estate as part of a revival programme.
The clothing and food businesses are both being steered by new senior management teams ultimately overseen by chair Archie Norman, famous for rescuing Asda in the 1990s.