Size of M&S task be­comes ap­par­ent

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business Comment -

Steve Rowe and Archie Nor­man, Marks & Spencer’s dou­ble act, are quickly dis­cov­er­ing what the City has long feared: turn­ing around the chain will take ev­ery ounce of their com­bined re­tail nous.

It will cer­tainly take more than a new cloth­ing range cu­rated by tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter Holly Wil­loughby af­ter yet an­other fall in both like-for-like cloth­ing and food sales and lit­tle im­prove­ment in the fore­cast for the com­ing months, a gloomy Rowe has told the stock mar­ket.

In­deed, he has opened the door to an­other it­er­a­tion of its store-clo­sure plan, hav­ing al­ready in­creased the tar­get from 30 to 60 to 100 at the last count in May. It may not be “job done”, Rowe con­fessed.

The store-clo­sure plan is prov­ing mas­sively costly. An­other £150m of charges are ex­pected on top of £320m al­ready booked, vir­tu­ally wip­ing out full-year prof­its. Wel­come to the bru­tal world of modern re­tail­ing.

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