M&S chief rejigs retail operation

Marks & Spencer’s first marketing director, James Benfield, has overhauled the company’s retail operations and has appointed four new managers to help turn round the fortunes of the high street chain.

Marks & Spencer’s first marketing director, James Benfield, has overhauled the company’s retail operations and has appointed four new managers to help turn round the fortunes of the high street chain.

Benfield, who was appointed after a profits warning in January, says the restructure will focus M&S’ efforts on “offering the right range of products and services in the chain’s different types of store”.

The structure, called “the shape of the chain”, splits M&S’ 289 outlets into four categories, each managed by a “head of shape of chain” who will report to Benfield, and ultimately to managing director of UK retail Andrew Stone.

Wendy Seddon, Phil Auld, Rosemary Calthorpe, and John Bowen, all M&S employees, have been appointed to the new positions and will oversee the new departmental, regional centre, high street, and small store categories respectively.

Benfield says an advertising campaign using press, posters and in-store promotions – known internally as “hero products” because it concentrates on the company’s most innovative goods – will break at the end of this month. He confirms M&S will review its advertising out of BMP4. The pitch is expected to take place before the end of the year (MW March 25).

He adds: “Everything is up for review and we are looking for fresh input. But there is nothing in the immediate future.”

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