Stephanie Chen’s appointment at Marks & Spencer could herald a move to introduce more designer collaborations across the retail giant’s general merchandise, industry sources have suggested.
Industry insiders have been quick to point out that both Earl and Chen’s involvement with the Designers at Debenhams initiative could mean M&S is planning something similar.
“[Chief executive Marc] Bolland was pleased with M&S’s Terence Conran and Marcel Wanders collaborations on the home and accessories side and he wants to do more of that kind of thing,” said one commentator. “With that in mind, the appointment of Chen makes perfect sense.”
Just this week M&S revealed that sales of its Rosie Huntington-Whiteley lingerie collection had surpassed expectations, with some lines almost selling out after just one day.
“The market has become a lot more focused on brands in the last couple of years and people have questioned why M&S hasn’t brought brands in on the general merchandise side,” said Freddie George, Seymour Pierce retail analyst. “Perhaps doing more collaborations will be Bolland’s answer to that.”
Chen’s appointment is also being viewed as a commitment by M&S to drive forward the fashionability of its kidswear offer.