UK: M&S Sends Head Office Staff To Shop Floor
UK retailer, Marks and Spencer, has announced another bold new initiative to boost flagging sales and get the tills ringing louder this Christmas. Head office staff at the struggling retailer are to get a taste of life on the shop floor at stores all over the country. Two thousand managers are leaving their head office desks to see what life is like at the sharp end. Some M&S customers are set for a real treat - being served by none only than the group's dapper chairman, Luc Vandevelde. Mr Vandevelde, who joined M&S in January, has pledged to turn the group round in the next 16 months. He wants to see for himself what is and is not working with customers of M&S and will take his turn packing customers' bags and other tasks carried out by sales staff. A spokesman for M&S said head office staff were asked if they wanted to work at a store over Christmas and many, including press office staff, volunteered to do so. The spokesman said: "It will involve packing bags, stacking shelves and really getting stuck in. Stores are the core part of the business and it's important to see how this works." The move is another first for the down-at-heel retailer which is fighting back and has launched a series of initiatives designed to make it a winner in the troubled UK high street middle-market. M&S announced last week that it was introducing performance-related pay for its 50,000 employees for the first time in the company's history in the crucial run-up to Christmas. It also bought back 2.16 million shares to strengthen other shares. M&S share recently hit a 10-year low at 163p. Both moves came after the company reported a drop in half-year profits last week and plans to axe six stores.
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