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Buying and merchandising bosses first casualties of M&S cuts

Senior buying and merchandising roles are some of the first to be hit in Marks & Spencer’s plans to cut 450 head office jobs.

Menswear head of buying Steve Jackson and head of merchandising Archie Erman Djemil have both left the company, as the retailer prepares to launch consultation with staff to cut 15% of its head office roles.

It is understood that similar “heads of” roles in other other divisions are among roles under threat, including heads of planning across different product categories.

A Marks & Spencer spokeswoman declined to confirm details but said: “We are reviewing our senior structure to make sure we have the most efficient way of working.”

During the M&S third quarter media conference call this morning, M&S chairman Sir Stuart Rose admitted that the head office job cuts would be across the board.

He said: “We need to be careful about duplication of roles. No one will be immune.”

Rose said that the job cuts were regrettable but necessary to see the company through the economic downturn. He added that the cuts should be enough, but would not completely rule out the possibility of more job losses at a later date.

Around 780 jobs within stores will also be lost. M&S plans to close 27 underperforming stores.

Marks & Spencer saw like-for-like sales fall 7.1% for the 13 weeks to December 27. Clothing sales were down 6.5%.

Rose said that the performance was “pretty robust” and that its pre-Christmas promotions and Sale had boosted shopper traffic.

“We sold as much if not more clothing than the same period last year. Market share by volume was up. The response in my mail bag from customers is more positive than it has been for the last three years. Everyone does it differently, we did two One-day spectaculars and the traffic came, that’s how we did it and the turn out was spectacular and it proves what you can do when you turn this brand on.”

He added: “We sold enough Magic Knickers to take a quarter of a million inches off the British public’s waistline, and a pair of tights for every woman in England.”

Click here for the full transcript of Sir Stuart Rose’s comments at the M&S press conference this morning.

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