Marks & Spencer womenswear label Per Una will be fully integrated into the retailer’s core womenswear operations following a management restructuring this week.
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Andrew Skinner, formerly trading director for Per Una, is moving to the new role of director of general merchandise merchandising.
Scott Fyfe and Annette Browne will be responsible for Per Una in their new roles as trading directors for womenswear merchandising and planning, and womenswear product direction and design respectively.
The retailer had begun to integrate Per Una over recent years, taking actions such as bringing it under the womenswear umbrella.
This next step is designed to enable the delivery of M&S chief executive Marc Bolland’s strategy to make the business more efficient, including reducing the duplication of both management responsibilities and product.
Analysts were divided on what the changes might mean for Per Una. One, who did not want to be named, was unimpressed on the evidence of how Per Una has been integrated up to now.
He said: “Something has been lost by integrating it thus far. I’m not sure how good an idea it is.”
But Arden analyst Nick Bubb maintained: “Per Una is bought by M&S’s core customer so there’s no reason why the core team can’t take care of it.”
As part of the womenswear management restructuring, long-standing womenswear trading director Bernadette Lusher will leave M&S.
An M&S spokeswoman said: “As Marc said in November, structure follows strategy. We’ve made changes to our general merchandise leadership team to ensure we have the right structure in place to deliver our business plan.
“The changes allow us to place greater focus on merchandising and eliminate duplication in womenswear and Per Una.”
She said: “Bernadette leaves with our thanks for the significant contribution she has made and our best wishes for the future.”
M&S’s clothing business generally has been performing well. Over Christmas the retailer’s general merchandise like-for-likes, including clothing, rose 3.8%. It said in the 12 weeks to November 1 last year its clothing market share was up 70 basis points to 11.8%.