Marks & Spencer is building a team of between 100 and 150 software engineers as it looks to build its in-house technology expertise.

The retailer is around half way through a recruitment drive for the team of software experts, who will work with teams across the business on developing new technologically-driven ideas.

The team is led by head of software engineering Mike Blakemore, a former Lovefilm CTO who joined from the Guardian six months ago.

IT director Darrell Stein said the aim is to make the business as a whole more agile. “We want speed and more agility,” he said. “We think we can be more productive working this way.”

The team is working on a variety of projects, including new in-store multichannel services with executive director of multichannel Laura Wade-Gery’s team.

Indian outsourcing company TCS manages M&S’s legacy estate, and Stein said he wants much of the retailer’s development in other areas to be brought in-house. “It will lead to better ideas, and it means we retain the intellectual property ourselves,” he said.