March 26, 2018 / 1:49 PM / a month ago

M&S revamps clothing and home leadership team

LONDON (Reuters) - British retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) said on Monday it was shaking-up its clothing and home leadership team, with Queralt Ferrer, its womenswear and lingerie design director, and Belinda Earl, its style director, both stepping down from their roles.

FILE PHOTO: A sign is seen on the exterior of a branch of Marks and Spencer in central London, Britain, November 3, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

The moves follow the appointment in October of Jill McDonald, the former boss of bikes to car parts chain Halfords, as its clothing and home managing director.

Reporting to Chief Executive Steve Rowe, McDonald has been tasked with delivering the sustained sales and profit growth that has eluded Britain’s biggest clothing retailer for a decade.

She has decided to merge the retailer’s womenswear and kidswear teams “in a move to attract more families to M&S”, appointing Jill Stanton to the new role of womenswear and kidswear director.

Stanton, formerly of Next, Dewhirst, Nike and most recently Old Navy, will start in July.

M&S also named Wes Taylor, Burton’s managing director for 11 years, as its new menswear director, starting in May.

“We’re crystal clear on the challenge. We must become more relevant to more people offering the right products at the right prices to appeal to our core customers and attract new ones,” said McDonald.

Ferrer, design director since 2015, is moving to Amsterdam to be with her family, while Earl, style director since 2012, is stepping down from her commercial role but will continue to work in an advisory capacity.

    M&S also said Michael Kerr, currently menswear and kidswear director, was leaving the retailer after 35 years.

    It said Laura Charles has been promoted to the new position of lingerie director, while home director Neil Harrison will also take on responsibility for beauty.

    M&S re-set its strategy in November, two months after retail veteran Archie Norman joined as chairman.

    The firm said it would speed up store closures, accelerate the relocation and downsizing of other stores, and reposition its food offering.

    Last week M&S replaced food boss Andy Adcock with Steinhoff UK executive Stuart Machin.

    This year it has also detailed changes to its technology function, clothing and home logistics and food marketing.

    Shares in M&S, which have fallen 19 percent over the past year, were little changed at 1445 GMT.

    Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Sarah Young and Mark Potter

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