With Dyson off at the end of August and Rose unlikely to be far behind, the next three months will be crucial.
There was an end of term feel to Marks & Spencer’s full-year results presentation on Tuesday. Unsurprising really, seeing as it was going to be the last appearance at the prelims for the two men presenting them - Sir Stuart Ros e and Ian Dyson - and that they were signing off with a decent set of figures.
Kate Bostock’s general merchandise arm has had a really good year in market share terms, while food has at last got back to like-for-like growth after three years of decline.
So while Rose didn’t try to claim everything in the garden is rosy, he could at least sign off on a positive note.
So there was lots of bonhomie and lots of reflection on Rose’s six years in charge, on the UK consumer and on the economy. Marc Bolland was there, paying tribute to Rose’s reign and otherwise avoiding giving answers to any questions before he completes his induction period.
That’s fair enough, and - unlike when he took over at Morrisons - Bolland has the advantage of not having gone into a company in crisis. He’s right not to make any big strategic decisions before he’s confident that he knows M&S inside out.
But the honeymoon won’t last forever and he won’t have his finance director or his chairman around for much longer. And while he has a capable management team with bags of experience in M&S, initiatives like the 2020 change programme - which has been spearheaded by Dyson - will need someone at board level to own them.
With Dyson off at the end of August and Rose unlikely to be far behind, the next three months will be crucial. Bolland needs to soak up all their knowledge and understanding while taking advantage of time and space he’ll never have again to shape his vision for the business.
Tesco jumps on the wagon
Tesco’s announcement that it supports a Government ban on below-cost selling of alcohol is opportunistic but reflects that as ever, the UK’s biggest grocer knows which way the wind is blowing. Selling booze below cost might work as a footfall driver but is hard to defend politically in the current climate.
But no one should be under any illusions that a change in the law will do anything. The vast majority of alcohol purchasers are responsible drinkers and with the World Cup coming up the supermarkets will be making all sorts of offers to make sure they sell all the multipacks they can.
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