Marks and Spencer

LONDON — In an ongoing quest to turn around its troubled clothing business, Marks & Spencer has plucked Richard Price from rival retailer Tesco.

M&S said Friday that Price, who is currently chief executive officer of F&F Clothing at Tesco, has been named managing director of its clothing and home division.

Steve Rowe, ceo of M&S, has been filling the role temporarily following the abrupt departure of Jill McDonald in July. McDonald was an unusual choice for the role, joining M&S after serving as ceo of Halfords, the British cycling and motoring retailer. M&S shares fell on the news of her appointment.

She left amid a major supply chain challenges and floundering sales. M&S fell out of the FTSE 100 earlier this year as its sharp share price decline eroded the company’s market capitalization.

Price’s background is in mass clothing, so at least he’ll be familiar with the rhythms of sourcing, deliveries and sales strategy. Also, this will be his second time around at M&S. He served as men’s wear trading director at the retailer before leaving to become managing director at the now-defunct Bhs in 2012.

Price will join M&S next year, and a start date will be confirmed in due course, the store said.

Rowe pointed out that Price’s career “spans some of the U.K.’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 and home and, with Richard coming on board, I am confident that the speed and scale of the transformation of the business will accelerate.”

Price called Marks & Spencer clothing and home “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.”

As reported earlier this month, first-half profits at Marks & Spencer Group nearly doubled to 117.1 million pounds from 60.8 million pounds due to shrinking finance costs and taxes, while revenues dipped 2.1 percent to 4.86 billion pounds.

The company said revenue in the first six months to Sept. 28 was dented by weak clothing and home sales, due in part to supply chain issues, while the food division grew 0.9 percent underlying, driven by volume.

The company added that its acquisition of 50 percent of Ocado retail was a move aimed at catapulting the retailer into the online delivery world. The troubled clothing and home division also saw an improvement in sales performance in October.

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