Back in 2004, Marks & Spencer wasn’t having the best of times. With its high street rivals all upping their game on the food front, the brand was in danger of falling behind.
Two hostile takeover bids from Philip Green’s Revival Acquisitions had been rebuffed and, with rumours of a third in the works, Stuart Rose was brought in from Arcadia Group as M&S CEO.
Tasked with reconnecting with customers and rekindling confidence in the business, Rose brought in his long-term creative foil, marketing director Steven Sharp. Rose wanted to focus on the brand’s core values, targeting its traditionally strong female market with revamped womenswear collections and a renewed food offer, with the aim of reasserting M&S’s high street primacy.