Marks & Spencer clothing boss Kate Bostock has admitted that she “never wanted to be chief executive” of the retail giant and said that she was working closely with incumbent Marc Bolland to iron out clothing ranging issues.
Bostock told The Sunday Telegraph: “I didn’t honestly want to do that job. I think that role in M&S is not for me.”
Bostock, who was pitted against other internal candidates for the chief executive role before it went to Bolland last year, quashed rumours that she had considered leaving and added: “I love the job I’ve got and it is a big job and I wouldn’t want anybody else to be doing that job.”
Tomorrow, Bolland is expected to unveil a 12% rise in full-year pre-tax profits to £710m.
Bostock, M&S’ executive director of general merchandise, attributed recent sales growth – fourth quarter UK like-for-like sales rose by 2.2%– to shoppers recognising value in M&S ranges. Bolland is expected to detail M&S’s plans for overseas expansion and its increased emphasis on the internet.
Bostock said: “People are increasingly a bit more careful about what they are spending and our customers have recognised that the value is there at M&S, the quality is there and we have stayed confident in what we are doing. We have continued to drive newness and fashionability. We’ve kept it confident.”
She acknowledged that the retailer’s sub-brands which include Autograph, Limited and Blue Harbour, needed clarity in terms of in-store ranging and navigation.
She said: “In terms of being able to find the ranges, that has been a big piece of work that we have been very focused on over the last six months. In general merchandise it has probably been the biggest thing that Marc has been driving.
“You might not see much of a step-change today, but we have been starting to get more clarity. We are all behind it because it is the one gripe that we constantly get.”