M&S new chief to push own brand

M&S new chief to push own brand

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The new chief executive of retail giant Marks & Spencer has put the chain’s own brand at the forefront of his vision for the business.

Marc Bolland, who joined M&S from supermarket Morrisons six months ago, wants to push the retailer’s own brand in clothing and food and will revamp the store’s website.

Unveiling his three-year plan for the household name, Mr Bolland, 51, said he wanted to increase the role of the M&S brand in clothing, scale back the number of branded food products from 400 to 100, and boost sales in homewares.

The Dutchman said he wanted to boost international sales from £800 million to £1 billion, but stopped short of earmarking the opening of any new stores in continental Europe.

Mr Bolland’s strategic review came as M&S reported a 17% rise in half-year profits to £348.6 million for the 26 weeks to October 2.

Introducing his plan, he said: “The business is in good shape and we have strong foundations on which to build through evolution not revolution.”

Mr Bolland arrived in May with a formidable reputation, having turned Morrisons into a stronger competitor to Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda, with growth that bettered its bigger rivals.

He said the company’s first priority for the 2010 to 2013 plan would be the core UK business. He said the group was launching an “Only at M&S” campaign, to push the retailer’s own products.

In clothing, as well as boosting the chain’s own brand, Mr Bolland will look to develop sub-brands – such as womenswear ranges Per Una and Indigo Collection. In food, while reducing the number of non-M&S lines, the company will increase the total range from 7,000 to 8,000 lines, after reorganising food hall space.

The chief executive said the company would build and manage a new platform for www.marksandspencers.com, but does not intend to provide a full online food offer at this stage. In terms of retail space, M&S aims for 95% of the population to be within 30 minutes drive of a full-line store by 2015, Mr Bolland said. The number of Simply Food stores is set to increase as well.

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