Sharp, who Marketing Week profiled last year alongside chairman Sir Stuart Rose, writes in the report that it was important to refocus and increase marketing during the difficult market conditions, in order to “keep the M&S brand fresh and relevant to our customer’s changing needs.”
He adds: “We are already seeing returns on this investment, with improving sales across the business. The strength of the M&S brand has enabled us to weather the recession and as we move into 2010/11 we will continue to communicate with our customers, delivering engaging, relevant campaigns that bring our core values to life.”
M&S’s marketing spend fell by 3.5% last year from £127.4m to £122.9m for the 52 weeks ending 27 March 2010. The retailer says this was “due to a reduced number of external marketing campaigns.”
In the same period, Marks & Spencer reported a “good year” with a 4.6% rise in profit to £632m for the year.
The company recently announced an overhaul of marketing strategy in March and launched high profile advertising campaigns starring Dannii Minogue.
The retail chain’s latest advertising campaign stars England footballers Theo Walcott, despite the player not being named in England’s World Cup squad.
Other players featured include Emile Heskey, Matthew Upson and Steven Gerrard as well as stars from England’s World Cup 1966 winning team.
Marc Bolland joined M&S as chief executive on 1 May. Sir Stuart will become non-executive chairman on 31 July.
Sir Stuart received £4.3m in pay and bonuses, an increase of almost 140% on the previous 12 months, the report also reveals.