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Timeline: M&S under Marc Bolland



Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland announced this morning that he is to leave the retailer in April after six years. Drapers looks back at the high street chain under his reign.

Marc Bolland

Marc Bolland

Marc Bolland

November 2009 – Marc Bolland named chief executive of Marks & Spencer

Morrisons boss Marc Bolland is announced as the successor to Sir Stuart Rose as chief executive of M&S, beginning in the new year. Speaking at the Drapers WGSN Fashion Summit, Rose says M&S has completed its turnaround since he took over in 2004, and that now the retailer needs a “driver – and one who can drive fast”, and that Bolland has been selected for his ability to accelerate growth at the retailer. Fashion industry insiders say Bolland will not be hampered by lack of clothing experience.

February 2010 Marc Bolland confirmed to take up M&S role from May 

Investors and shareholder advisory groups lambaste the pay package awarded to Bolland– a £975,000 salary, annual bonus potential of up to 250% of salary, and an annual award of shares under the company’s Performance Share Plan. 

May 2010 M&S finance director quits

Marks & Spencer announces the departure of group finance and operations director Ian Dyson, just a day after Marc Bolland joins as chief executive.

May 2010 M&S grows market share across all areas

Marks & Spencer increases its clothing market share by value across all categories by 30 basis points to 11%, after it posts a 4.6% rise in full-year pre-tax profits to £632.5m in the year to March 27.

August 2010 Marks & Spencer appoints chief finance officer

Marks & Spencer names Alan Stewart, group finance director at stationer WH Smith, its new chief finance officer.

August 2010 Bolland set to overhaul M&S fashion labels

Marc Bolland gets set to overhaul the retailer’s fashion labels as part of his forthcoming review of the business

September 2010 M&S launches Limited Collection kidswear

Marks & Spencerlaunches its first boyswear range under the Limited Collection name, and relaunches the brand’s girlswear range.

October 2010 Marks & Spencer clothing sales jump 7.8%

Clothing sales at Marks & Spencer increased 7.8% in the 13 weeks to October 2. 

November 2010 Marks & Spencer confirms it is to axe Portfolio in brand shake-up

Marks & Spencer confirms it will ditch its Portfolio womenswear sub-brand and hire a team of brand managers to turn its other labels into “real brands”, as it increases its clothing market share by value across all categories by 60 basis points to 11.2%.

January 2011 Rose ends six-year tenure at M&S

Sir Stuart Rose steps down as chairman of Marks & Spencer as he hands over the reins to former investment banker Robert Swannell.

January 2011 Marks & Spencer restructures womenswear team

Womenswear trading director Bernadette Lusher leaves Marks & Spencer as a result of changes aimed at creating a structure that will better enable delivery of Bolland’s plans. Andrew Skinner, formerly director of Per Una, becomes merchandising director for general merchandise. Scott Fyfe, previously operations and commercial director, takes up the role of trading director, womenswear merchandising and planning, with responsibility for Per Una. Annette Browne, formerly a womenswear trading director, becomes trading director of womenswear product direction and design, also including Per Una. All report into Kate Bostock. 

February 2011 M&S Direct chief stands down

Marks & Spencer head of M&S Direct Dave Hughes leaves the retailer.

February 2011 M&S poaches Tesco’s Laura Wade-Gery for ecommerce role

Marks & Spencer appoints Tesco ecommerce bossLaura Wade-Gery as executive director multi-channel ecommerce.

April 2011 Marks & Spencer unveils bricks and clicks launch in France

Marks & Spencer makes a return to France a decade after shutting its operations in the country.

May 2011 M&S unveils branding and store revamp

Marks & Spencer unveils revamped branding for its Per Una and North Coast sub-brands, as well as a complete overhaul of its core collection, which will include its name being abbreviated to M&S on labelling. 

June 2011 Marks & Spencer appoints Arcadia m arketing boss as brand director

Marks & Spencerpoaches Arcadia group marketing director Alison Jones to join the retailer as brand director for general merchandise, which includes its clothing division. The first pilot M&S store, at London’s High Street Kensington, is used todemonstrate his vision to give each sub-brand an identity that has been translated to the shopfloor. 

November 2011 General merchandise sales fall at M&S

Marks & Spencer posts a drop in pre-tax profit for the 26 weeks to October 1 2011 as sales of general merchandise, including clothing fall. The retailer describes the trading environment as “challenging”.

February 2012 M&S general merchandise brand director Jones leaves 

Marks & Spencer’s brand director for general merchandise, Alison Jones, quits the retailer after less than a year in post.

March 2012 Marks & Spencer veteran Andrew Skinner leaves the business

Marks & Spencer veteran Andrew Skinner leaves the retailer after almost three decades, citing a decision to seek new opportunities outside the business.

May 2012 Pre-tax profits down at Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer reports pre-tax profits of £658m down from £780.6m last year – its first fall for three years. Group sales for the year to the end of March, are up 2% to £9.9bn, with total UK sales up 1.5%. General merchandise is down 0.9%, let down mainly by a poorer home performance, down 10%. Clothing performs better, up 2%.

Kate Bostock

Kate Bostock

July 2012 Bostock leaves M&S through “mutual consent”

Kate Bostock is confirmed to be leaving Marks & Spencer on October 1 through “mutual consent” after eight years at the company. She will leave both the board and her role as executive director of general merchandise. 

July 2012 M&S records worst trading since 2008

Marks & Spencer reveals its worst trading since 2008, with like-for-like general merchandising down 6.8% over the three months to the end of June.

July 2012 M&S promotes Sacha Berendji to retail director

As part of a senior management reshuffleMarks & Spencer promotes Sacha Berendji to retail director.

July 2012 Steve Rowe promoted to executive director of food

Director of retail Steve Rowe is promoted to executive director of food.

July 2012 M&S appoints new Per Una design chief

Marks & Spencer drafts in design veteran Carole Boyes-Weston as head of design for womenswear brands Per Una and Limited Collection.    

July 2012 M&S design chief exits for Asda

Marks & Spencer buying and design director Helen Low is to join Asda as general manager for design at George.

September 2012 House of Fraser’s Stephanie Chen joins M&S

Marks & Spencer confirms House of Fraser’s executive director of womenswear, lingerie and accessories Stephanie Chen is to join the retailer as director of kidswear and home.

October 2012 M&S starts digital rollout across Europe

Marks & Spencer launches local transactional websites in four new European territories.

November 2012 M&S announces two new general merchandise appointments

Frances Russell, previously director of lingerie and beauty, is promoted to womenswear director reporting to Dixon, while Janie Schaffer joins M&S from lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret to replace Frances Russell as director of lingerie and beauty.

December 2012 M&S board appointment

Marks & Spencer appoints Andy Halford to the board as a non-executive director.

January 2013 Women’s design boss exits M&S after five months

Carole Boyes-Weston, head of design at Marks & Spencer for womenswear labels Per Una and Limited Edition, leaves the business after only five months in the role.

February 2013 M&S Paris makes a £8.5m loss   

Marks & Spencer’s Paris business is reported to have made an £8.5m loss in its first four months of trading.

March 2013 M&S kidswear boss heads to Shop Direct

Marks & Spencer’s kidswear director, Karl Doyle, takes on a new role at Shop Direct.

April 2013 M&S general merchandise slumps again

Marks & Spencer’s sales of total and like-for-like sales in the UK drop once again, although group sales rise overall.

April 2013 M&S formal menswear buyer heads to John Lewis

Marks & Spencer’s head of buying for formal menswear, Nick Keyte, leaves to join department store chain John Lewis.

April 2013 M&S lingerie boss quits after three months

Marks & Spencer director of lingerie and beauty Janie Schaffer exits after just three months in the role.

May 2013 M&S losses two womenswear buyers

Marks & Spencer is shaking up its womenswear team following the departure of two of its buyers– Sara Bradley, head of buying for in-house brands, and head of buying for M&S Woman, Mary Wastnage.

May 2013 M&S appoints Next director as lingerie head

Next product director Jo Jenkins is to join Marks & Spencer as director of lingerie and beauty.

May 2013 M&S hires Zara’s Queralt Ferrer

M&S hires Queralt Ferrer from Inditex, owner of Zara and Massimo Dutti, as head of design for its Autograph and Limited Edition collections.

May 2013 M&S clothing slumps further as profits reach eight-year low

Sales at Marks & Spencer’s general merchandise arm fall yet again, by 2.4%, as profits plummet to their lowest point in eight years.

May 2013 M&S head of store environment leaves

M&S director of store environment and product presentation Nayna McIntosh leaves after eight years at the company.

June 2010 M&S invests in £200m distribution centre

Marks & Spencer isto invest £200m in a new distribution centre at a new development in London Gateway, Essex.

July 2013 M&S clothing sales improve despite dip in like-for-likes

Marks & Spencer delivers a slight improvement in general merchandise sales as total group sales rise 3.3% in its first quarter.

August 2013 M&S hit by glitches at distribution centre

Marks & Spencer is hit by a series of IT glitches at its new warehouse that could disrupt availability in stores.

September 2013 M&S extends supplier terms

Marks & Spencer extends hundreds of suppliers’ payment terms by 15 days to 75 days.

October 2013 M&S womenswear director departs

Gillian Ridley Whittle, development and buying director for womenswear, leaves for a role at Australian department store chain Target.

November 2013 M&S profits drop as GM decline continues

Like-for-likes of general merchandise decline yet again, as the retailer reports a 1.5% drop for the 26 weeks to September 28.

December 2013 M&S staff to strike in Ireland

Marks & Spencer staff in the Republic of Ireland are to strike over “unacceptable” plans to end the company’s final salary pension scheme.

January 2014 M&S clothing falls for 10th quarter in a row

Like-for-like sales of clothing decline by 2.1% in the 13 weeks to December 28, the 10th consecutive quarter that division has seen a drop.

January 2014 Next buying duo jump ship to M&S

Marks & Spencer poaches Next buying manager Paula Bonham-Carter, who was at the retailer for nearly 10 years, as head of buying for womenswear, while Laura Charles, whose tenure at Next lasted more than 15 years, joins as head of buying for lingerie.

March 2014 Next profits exceed M&S for the first time

Next’s online proposition and rigid Sales strategy are heralded as the main factors behind growth that leads its profits overtake Marks & Spencer’s for the first time.

March 2014 Two top executives leave M&S

Marks & Spencer loses two of its most experienced executives: property director Clem Constantine and IT director Darrell Stein.

April 2014 M&S to open 250 international stores

Marks & Spencer announces plans to bolster its international footprint by opening 250 overseas stores by 2017.

April 2014 M&S clothing back in growth

Marks & Spencer’s clothing sales, particularly in womenswear, show a small increase despite an overall fall in general merchandise.

May 2014 M&S profits fall below rival Next to £623m

Marks & Spencer’s underlying profit before tax falls 3.9% to £623m in the year to March 29.

May 2014 M&S international director to leave

Marks & Spencer’s international director Jan Heere is to stand down, creating further challenges for the company as it looks to establish itself as a global player.

June 2014 Bolland’s pay cut by a quarter

Marks & Spencer chief executive Mark Bolland’s take-home pay drops by 26% to £1.58m in 2013/14.

Laura Wade Gery

Laura Wade-Gery

June 2014 Marks & Spencer restructures top team

Marks & Spencer overhauls its top team, giving multichannel director Laura Wade-Gery and marketing director Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne additional responsibilities. International director Jan Heere steps down.

July 2014 M&S GM sales down for 12th quarter in a row

Marks & Spencer notches up its 12th consecutive quarter of declining like-for-likes for general merchandise, with clothing – which it has only recently started splitting out – also down.

July 2014 M&S CFO to depart

Tesco poaches Marks & Spencer’s chief finance officer Alan Stewart, just days after he is given additional responsibility for the retailer’s property portfolio.

July 2014 M&S cuts suppliers as efficiency measures take hold

Marks & Spencer suppliers beging to feel the pinch as its strategy to directly source 60% of its clothing within the next three years takes hold.

November 2014 Fashion sales drop 3.4%

Marks & Spencer has reports like-for-like fashion sales fell 3.4% for the three months to September 27, meaning fashion sales have declined for 14 consecutive quarters at the retailer.

November 2014 M&S appoints John Lewis CFO

Marks & Spencer appoints John Lewis’s Helen Weir as chief financial officer.

December 2014 M&S’s international director of operations leaves for Clarks

Clarks appoints Marks & Spencer’s director of international operations, Steve Finlan, as its new chief commercial officer.

January 2014 M&S’s GM sales fall 5.8%

Marks & Spencer reports a 5.8% drop in like-for-like sales in general merchandise for the 13 weeks to December 27, making 14 consecutive quarters of falling fashion and general merchandise sales.

January 2014 M&S boss Bolland on ‘borrowed time’ as Morrisons chief set to exit

Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland comes under renewed pressure, as analysts question how much time he has left as leader of the retailer following its disappointing performance over Christmas.

January 2014 M&S poaches Next’s head of menswear design

Marks & Spencer poaches Next’s head of menswear design, Simon Hawksworth, to replace Tony O’Connor, who left at the beginning of the year.

March 2014 M&S expands its Chinese business as Asia boss departs

Marks & Spencer reveals plans to ramp up its business in China by entering key cities, including Beijing and Guangzhou in 2015, on the same day as it emerges regional director for Asia Bruce Findlay is to depart.

March 2014 M&S shakes up its board of directors

Marks & Spencer reshuffles its board of directors after senior independent director Jan du Plessis steps down from the board after seven years.

April 2015 M&S turns a corner as fashion sales rise 1.2%

Marks & Spencer reports a 1.2% increase in fashion sales for the 13 weeks to March 28, breaking a cycle of 14 consecutive quarters in decline.

April 2015 M&S to pay Lindsey brothers millions in sourcing deal

Marks & Spencer is reportedly set to hand sourcing specialists Mark and Neal Lindsey a multimillion-pound pay check, as its general merchandise sales show long-awaited signs of improvement.

April 2015 M&S poaches another Next buyer

M&S appoints former Next knitwear buyer Polly Young as jersey buyer for womenswear.

May 2015 Fallout continues at M&S suppliers

There are further redundancies at M&S suppliers as the retailer moves closer to its goal of directly sourcing 60% of its clothing.

May 2015 Profits rise at Marks & Spencer but fashion sales fall

Marks & Spencer reports a 6.1% increase in underlying profit before tax to £661.2m for the year to March 31, but clothing and general merchandise like-for-like sales fall 3.1%.

Marks & Spencer Sparks

Marks & Spencer Sparks loyalty scheme

June 2015 Marks & Spencer to launch Sparks reward card

Marks & Spencer readies the launch of a card-based loyalty scheme called Sparks.

June 2015–  Cheshire Bespoke faces insolvency after M&S cuts orders

Bespoke tailoring business Cheshire Bespoke and London menswear store Lutwyche fall into insolvency the week after one of its largest customers, Marks & Spencer, “significantly reduced” its orders.

July 2015 Next retains M&S-bound design boss

Next retains its head of menswear design, Simon Hawksworth, who was due to join Marks & Spencer in the same role later this month.

July 2015 M&S extends free click-and-collect to 100 more stores

Marks & Spencer extends its free click-and-collect service to more than 100 Simply Food franchises in motorway service stations, railways, hospitals and airports.

July 2015 Marks & Spencer general merchandise recovery falters

Marks & Spencer’s clothing recovery was hampered in the 13 weeks to June 27, as like-for-like sales of general merchandise fell 0.4% after a return to growth just six weeks ago.

July 2015 Marks & Spencer clothing boss John Dixon to depart

Marks & Spencer’s executive director for general merchandise John Dixon is leaving the business after almost 30 years to take up a chief executive role elsewhere.

July 2015 Paddy Power bets on Steve Rowe for top job at M&S

Bookmaker Paddy Power is taking bets on who will replace Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland when he eventually leaves the business, with new general merchandise boss Steve Rowe favourite to win.

August 2015 Rowe reshuffle sees M&S womenswear chief exit

Marks & Spencer’s womenswear director Frances Russell has left the business less than a month after general merchandise boss John Dixon’s departure.

September 2015 Marks & Spencer slows international expansion

Marks & Spencer puts the brakes on its plans for overseas expansion amid economic crises in Russia and China.

September 2015 M&S appoints new womenswear design director

Marks & Spencer promotes Queralt Ferrer, former head of design for its Autograph and Limited Edition ranges, to the newly created role of womenswear, lingerie and beauty design director.

October 2015 Russian crisis forces M&S to pull out of five countries

Marks & Spencer plans to close 12 stores and pull out of five countries in eastern Europe as tensions between the west and Russia intensify.

October 2015 M&S’s Bolland tells board he is staying

Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland tells the board of the retailer he is staying put for another two years, despite speculation about his future.

October 2015 M&S suspends website after technical glitch

Marks & Spencer customers report seeing other shoppers’ personal details after logging in to the M&S website.

November 2015 Fashion sales slip further at M&S

Marks & Spencer announces a fall in like-for-like general merchandise sales – mostly fashion – fell 1.2% for the 26 weeks to September 26, as a result of “unseasonal conditions” and less discounting at the retailer.

November 2015 M&S ups direct-source target to 70%

Marks & Spencer reveals it is increasing its target for directly designed and sourced clothing to 70% of the total by 2017 in a bid to further improve gross margin.

November 2015 Confident Rowe vows to improve availability of M&S clothing

Marks & Spencer’s new director for general merchandise, Steve Rowe, says his first priority is to improve the availability of the collection, including its heavily publicised hero pieces, across its UK store network.

January 2015 M&S director fired over ’racist language’

Marks & Spencer fires the head of its new loyalty scheme, Suzanna Broer, for allegedly using racist language.

January 2015 M&S clothing sales fall 5%

M&S general merchandise sales fall by 5% for the 13 weeks ending December 26, as like-for-like sales fell 5.8% as a result of unseasonal conditions and problems with availability.

January 2015 M&S’s Steve Rowe to succeed Marc Bolland

M&S chief executive Marc Bolland is to retire in April and will be succeeded by Steve Rowe, who is currently executive director of general merchandise.







































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