One year in to his role as chief executive of M&S and Luc Vandevelde is the first to admit that he is disappointed with results so far.

When he took the job, he stressed that if performance did not reach certain targets within two years, he would quit. It looks increasingly likely that those targets will remain out of reach, but there is no sign from the M&S board that they are keen to let Vandevelde go.

However a senior retailer told The Sunday Times yesterday that the board was considering what course to take in Vandevelde fails to revive the ailing retailer over the next 12 months: "They know they need to be looking to bring someone on board who will be a natural successor."

Another source said that M&S's board was well aware that if Vandevelde was not able to show evidence of improvement within six months then his days would be numbered.

Kevin Lomax, a non-executive director who heads the audit committee and is a member of the nomination committee, said this weekend: "There is no process to look at any possible replacement for Luc and he retains the full support of all the board."

M&S is well advanced in its search for a finance director to replace Robert Colville, who is due to retire at the annual meeting in May and is also in the process of taking on non-executives to strengthen its board, the Times reported.