Speaking as M&S revealed a 4.6% rise in full year profit, Bolland says he is taking on M&S in a different set of circumstances to when he took over supermarket chain Morrisons, and so his approach will be different.
Sir Stuart will continue to take care of the day to day running of the business for the coming three months, while Bolland conducts a thorough review of all aspects of the business from supply chain and warehousing to stores and international operations.
Bolland says that M&S is a “special” business and is a “great and respected brand” and while his review will include marketing activity, he will look to build on what M&S is already doing well and will not make changes for the sake of change.
Sir Stuart says that the chain’s Your M&S campaign has worked well to improve customer perception of the business and consumers have realised that “price is not the answer to the meaning of life” and recognise the value and quality that M&S offers.
As consumer confidence has recovered, Sir Stuart says customers have begun to trade up. In response the chain has increased its “best and better” brand ranges while maintaining its opening price points so that its customers can “trade up or down according to their means”.
He warns that although the worst of the downturn has passed, there is still uncertainty ahead and “customers will have less pounds in their pocket”.
M&S plans to extend its multi-channel operation Simply Your Way, which allows customers to order online and pick up from their local store, so that non-food items can be collected at M&S Simply Food stores.
The move to stock branded goods in M&S stores is being rolled out to further stores following its success so far. Rose says stores that have had branded goods for more than a year are showing double-digit growth.