LONDON — Marks & Spencer Group is reshuffling its top management following the departure of John Dixon, executive director, general merchandise, to a chief executive role outside the company.

Steve Rowe, who has been with the British store for more than 26 years, and who is currently executive director, food, will replace Dixon. Food is among the consistently top-performing divisions at M&S, which has been dogged by lackluster sales and shrinking market share in general merchandise.

In a statement Friday, the company said Rowe has been “instrumental” in ensuring that M&S maintained its specialist positioning, and continued to outperform in a challenging market.

Marc Bolland, chief executive of M&S, said Rowe is “well-placed to take the general merchandise business forward.”

As reported, the store’s first-quarter sales in the U.K. climbed 1.9 percent, boosted by food which saw a 3.2 percent rise. On a like-for-like basis, food sales were up 0.3 percent while general merchandise was broadly flat, edging up 0.2 percent and dipping 0.4 percent on a like-for-like basis.

The general merchandise category had fallen 2.5 percent in the 2014-15 fiscal year, with same-store sales down 3.1 percent.

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