There won’t have been many people around at Marks & Spencer’s Paddington head office yesterday, but new chief executive Marc Bolland was.
There won’t have been many people around at Marks & Spencer’s Paddington head office yesterday, but new chief executive Marc Bolland was. Today is his first official day in charge but he’ll be itching to get started on the job after his many months on gardening leave, and has the luxury of a three month induction period when Stuart Rose will still be holding the reins, giving him time to go on a tour of the suppliers and stores.
He’s also lucky in that he inherits a business on the best form it’s been for a while. That’s not saying a huge amount after the last couple of years of underperformance, but general merchandise in particular is on a good run and clawing back market share in fashion under Kate Bostock, and means that he won’t have to rush into doing anything too dramatic too quickly (which wouldn’t really be his style anyway).
But there’s still loads that he needs to look at and it will be interesting to see what he tackles first. I was in the big M&S in Croydon on Sunday and while the GM areas were looking on good form, food was a bit of a dogs dinner. Perhaps unsurprisingly for a bank holiday Sunday the fridges were bare in areas, but what also struck me was how incongruous the branded food looked. Maybe its just a case of needing to get used to it, but to me it looked like an uncomfortable halfway house between being a retailer of branded foods and being about private label excellence.
That’s just one of the significant questions about the future direction of the business Bolland will have to get his head around, but he’s more than capable. Marc is a good guy who did a great job at Morrisons, and I’m sure he will make a real fist of it at M&S. The scale of the job and the pressures are unique in retail, and that will take time to adapt to, but having Stuart on hand to guide him through his induction will help.
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