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M&S shareholder tension mounts

M&S is predicted to show a better than expected peformance at its trading update on Wednesday, as the retailer faces mounting unrest from shareholders.

According to The Mail on Sunday, M&S will say that like-for-like sales dropped by 2.7% for the 13 weeks to June 27, with general merchaindise showing a 3.8% drop. The figures are an improvement on the previous quarter which saw a 4.8% drop in general merchandise sales. It is thought that M&S has benefited from a later Easter and good weather.

However, Marks & Spencer is facing increasing pressure from some investors over the dual role of Sir Stuart Rose as chairman and chief executive. The retailer is facing a shareholder vote at its AGM next month on a resolution to force M&S to separate the roles, which is being supported by some shareholder advisory groups including Pirc, RiskMetrics and Glass Lewis.

Shareholders are also planning to vote against the company’s remuneration policies and the annual report and accounts, as well as the re-election to the board of Lady Patten, chairman of the remuneration committee, according to The Financial Times.

Last week Rose and executive director Steven Sharp said they would give up share bonuses worth £1.5 million to appease shareholders.

M&S deputy chairman Sir David Michels has received backing for his bid for the chairman’s role at the retailer from the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF), according to The Sunday Times.

The forum, which represents £80 billion of local council pension funds, is backing Michels to replace current chairman Sir Stuart Rose.

Rose is understood to be against Michels appointment. Michels’ interest in the role could spark controversy, according to the report, as he has been charged with finding Rose’s successor.

However, LAPFF chairman Ian Greenwood told the newspaper Michels would be “perfect for the job”.

M&S plans to start looking for Rose’s sucessor in the autumn.

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