Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Sir Stuart paints rosy picture of M&S

Jessica Brown

Was Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose really looking back on his six-year tenure at the retailer with “rose-tinted” glasses, as was suggested by the national press at his final full-year results presentation to the City this week?

Was Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose really looking back on his six-year tenure at the retailer with “rose-tinted” glasses, as was suggested by the national press at his final full-year results presentation to the City this week?

While Rose admitted his profit performance was “not very good”,

had M&S continued along the same trajectory it was heading before his arrival in 2004 it would have been disastrous. Remember too that he did return M&S to its heady heights with a pre-recession £1bn profit performance two years ago.

Back in 2004, Drapers was regularly publishing damning reviews of the chain’s clothing, which was out of touch, out of fashion and completely out of step on pricing. I remember the launch of the ill-fated Per Una Due with its 12-inch minis aimed at teenagers, which hit stores just as Rose arrived. It was bonkers and a desperate bid to answer analyst calls to bring in younger shoppers. Rose sensibly axed it after just one season.

By no means do I think M&S has a perfect fashion offer - rivals such as Next are still doing a far better job for the 30-something woman - nor do I think its current ad campaigns stand up to scrutiny. But what you see in store today is a vast improvement on 2004, and this is thanks to the work of Rose and Kate Bostock, director of general merchandise.

It’s a job not finished but great strides have already been made with the likes of Per Una and Limited Collection to ensure they serve a purpose different to the core M&S collection.

The chief executive mantle has now been handed to Marc Bolland, who joined from supermarket Morrisons. But for all the controversy he has courted, the super-slick Rose’s boots will not be easy to fill. Bolland may have the top job in fashion, but it is also probably the hardest job in fashion

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.