LONDON — Steve Rowe, who took over as Marks & Spencer’s executive director, general merchandise last month, has set about shuffling the British retailer’s women’s wear department.
A spokeswoman for M&S said Wednesday that Jo Jenkins has been appointed to the expanded role of director of women’s wear, lingerie and beauty. Before that, Jenkins had been director of lingerie and beauty. “[Jenkins] has a wealth of experience, with excellent product knowledge and great customer understanding,” the spokeswoman said.
M&S’s former director of women’s wear, Frances Russell, has left the business. Russell had served as director of women’s wear since late 2012, after being promoted from her role as head of lingerie at the retailer.
It’s understood that the changes came out of Rowe’s review of the retailer’s general merchandise leadership team. The executive is said to have decided to make a single executive responsible for all of M&S’s product areas for the female customer — women’s wear, lingerie and beauty — in order to benefit from synergies across the product areas and create a tighter leadership team.
Marks & Spencer’s clothing category has been a struggling one for the retailer in recent years – in May M&S reported that its general merchandise sales, of which clothing is part, fell 2.5 percent in the year to March 28, compared to the same period last year. But the category had returned to modest growth in M&S’s first quarter, rising 0.2 percent in the three months to June 27.