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Steve Rowe keeps M&S clothing under his wing

Marks & Spencer’s new chief executive Steve Rowe will retain direct control of its ailing general merchandise business.

Rowe, who took over from Marc Bolland as CEO on April 2, was expected to announce a successor to replace him as executive director of general merchandise later this month.

But the retailer has confirmed that all general merchandise business unit directors will continue to report directly into Rowe for the foreseeable future.

Rowe told staff this week that improving the clothing division would be his “number one priority.

He said M&S will spend time listening to customers and focus on “keeping things simple”, admitting the firm has been guilty of “overcomplicating” things in the past.

Analysts predicted that M&S would announce around a 3.4% fall in like-for-like general merchandise sales for the first three months of this year on Thursday, after Drapers went to press.




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