Per Una chain shelved as Rose restores old values

Marks & Spencer boss Stuart Rose has canned plans to open a chain of Per Una shops on the high street.

Per Una, the George Davies-designed fashion brand that accounts for approximately 10 per cent of womenswear sales, was set to make its standalone debut this month on London's King's Road. About 10 Per Una stores were expected to open in high-profile locations this year.

However, in a strategic U-turn, Rose has ruled out the possibility of Per Una shops. 'You will not see Per Una standalones,' he insisted.

Shore Capital retail analyst John Stevenson agreed: 'It makes perfect sense. We didn't understand the rationale (behind standalone Per Una stores).

Per Una was meant to drive footfall. With standalones, where is your footfall-driver?'

He added that, like Lifestore, Per Una shops were 'peripheral' to the core business and distracted management.

It is unclear how this will affect M&S's closely-guarded contract with George Davies.

Rose intends to return M&S to its old values. 'There is no point in going hell for leather after skinny teenagers. Our existing customer base is our key priority,' he maintained.

On Monday, marketing director Alice Avis left M&S as Steven Sharp took charge.

As Retail Week went to press, M&S shares lifted 3 per cent on rumours of an improved Philip Green bid.

- Interview: page 3.