MARKS & SPENCER boss Marc Bolland continued to stamp his mark on the business yesterday as he unveiled plans to redesign stores following complaints from customers that outlets were “difficult to shop” in.
The chief executive, who joined the firm a year ago, said the new formats will sell products selected in line with local criteria such as “affluence and age”.
Several pilot shops will be introduced in October, with a new layout complete with different signage, packaging and labelling in an attempt to improve navigation for customers.
The former boss of Morrisons also announced plans to step up expansion in emerging markets such as India and China, prompting analysts to question how much steam was left in the British market.
M&S runs 703 stores in Britain and 361 overseas and has just posted a 13% increase in underlying pre-tax profits to £714 million (€818m) in the year to April 2, a resilient performance in the face of uncertainty.
M&S, which serves around 21 million customers every week, said industry figures showed it had increased its share of the clothing market over the period by 0.5% to 11.7% and its share of the food market by 0.1% to 3.9%.
The results are the first under Mr Bolland, who unveiled a “strategic review” in November.
Increasing the rate of overseas expansion, saving money in its supply chain and revamping its various labels to create “proper brands” are among the new initiatives.
M&S said it had a good start to its new financial year but said reduced spending power and more expensive raw materials will present challenges in the months ahead.
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