M&S focuses on Price to accelerate fashion revival

Mark and Spencer (M&S) has lured its former menswear boss Richard Price back to “accelerate” the turnaround in its troubled clothing and homes arm.

The food-to-fashion retailer made the announcement after the sacking of Jill McDonald in July amid grumblings over continued struggles for the division.

M&S chief executive Steve Rowe took personal charge of the department pending the appointment of a successor.

Jill McDonald joined M&S from Halfords in October 2017. Pic: M&S
Image: Jill McDonald joined M&S from Halfords in October 2017 and was fired last summer. Pic: M&S

Mr Price, who left M&S for BHS in 2012, is due to start work next year and currently heads Tesco’s F&F clothing line.

He said of his appointment: “Marks & Spencer Clothing & Home is a great business which still has strong brand affection and huge potential.

“I left the business because I felt it was drifting in the wrong direction but now feel we have a real chance to make it special again.

“The new team has already started to improve product and value and I am looking forward to working with them.”

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M&S revealed ahead of its latest financial results that its turnaround efforts were 18 months behind schedule.

The figures showed a 7.8% fall in total sales for clothing and home in the six months to 28 September.

That partly reflected the closure of poorly-performing stores.

Steve Rowe first joined M&S in 1989 and became chief executive in 2016. Pic: M&S
Image: Steve Rowe said he hoped Mr Price’s arrival would accelerate the division’s turnaround plans

Mr Rowe said: “Richard’s career spans some of the UK’s top clothing brands and he has a proven track record of delivering growth through stylish, great value product.

“We are building a team of world-class talent in clothing & home and, with Richard coming on board, I am confident that the speed and scale of the transformation of the business will accelerate.”

M&S shares were trading more than 1% higher in the wake of the announcement.

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