Marks & Spencer boss Steve Rowe caused excitement in the weeks preceding today’s full-year results by revealing the retailer was preparing to trial food online.
But in front of journalists and the City today, the former Saturday worker was clear that his priorities remain unchanged.
The online grocery venture will be a “very, very, very, very” small trial, Rowe said, while he focuses on fundamental business improvements – and he is right to do so.
M&S’ fashion arm continues to struggle and, although full price sales in clothing and home jumped 11% in its second half, like-for-likes in the troubled division fell 3.4% across the year.
Rowe insists that progress is being made and, with some analysts expecting “surprise to the upside this year” as far as non-food sales are concerned, the pressure will slowly mount for him to deliver.
Another man soon to be dealing with similar scrutiny is Christian Mazauric, the boss of Brico Depot in Romania, who Kingfisher has hired to run B&Q.
Mazauric replaces Michael Loeve, and will have to hit the ground running amid increased competition from the likes of Bunnings.
Elsewhere today, Dixons Carphone posted a jump in fourth-quarter sales, Topshop Australia was placed into voluntary administration and Dune poached Ralph Lauren’s Rob Silsbury for the newly created role of ecommerce and marketing director.
Quote of the day
“I remain convinced that our strategy and approach to costs is more relevant than ever”
– M&S boss Steve Rowe reaffirms his confidence in the retailer’s plan
Today in numbers
The average reduction in like-for-like product prices at M&S over the course of its financial year
The spike in total sales at Screwfix, to £362m, during the quarter to April 30
The increase in like-for-like sales within Dixons Carphone’s core UK and Ireland business during the 16 weeks to April 29
Luke Tugby, head of content