King denies speculation about potential M&S role
Marks & Spencer supremo Stuart Rose has met privately with Matalan chief executive John King.

King insisted the meeting, last Friday, was 'a quick drink on Friday night' and 'absolutely social'. He denied suggestions that he had been sounded out for a potential role at M&S. Matalan has long been a thorn in the side of M&S, stealing market share with its discount offer.

King and a highly experienced sourcing team from Matalan could prove invaluable to Rose. M&S has only recently started to focus on China for sourcing, where the majority of its key competitors, including Matalan, have been sourcing for years.

However, sources said that King, who is originally from London, may consider offers

to leave the Skelmersdale-based discounter if the right role materialised.

M&S's general merchandise like-for-like sales fell 11.2 per cent in the 14 weeks to July 9. Like-for-likes at Matalan dropped 6.5 per cent for the nine weeks to July 2.