Blog: Leonie BarrieBolland brings change to M&S

Leonie Barrie | 23 November 2009

UK retail giant Marks & Spencer last week ended months of speculation about who will take over the reins as its next chief executive with the surprise appointment of Marc Bolland, the boss of rival supermarket group Morrisons.

Bolland will join M&S – which he described as “one of the world's great brands” – next year, replacing Sir Stuart Rose who will step into the role of part-time chairman.

M&S hopes its new CEO's strengths in marketing and international business will compensate for his lack of experience selling clothes. Having served most recently at food retailer Morrisons and Heineken in the Netherlands, he is yet to clock up any time in non-food retailing. Analysts, too, are hopeful Bolland’s appointment “opens the opportunity for change at M&S.”

US clothing giant Gap Inc is also on track for change after posting a 25% gain in third quarter profit to US$307m. Sales were up 1%, led by a strong performance at the Old Navy chain. Gap says it now wants to build market share this holiday season – helped by its first TV advertising campaign for three years. The aim is to get shoppers into its stores – and, crucially, to get them to spend more once they're there.

Teen clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has set its sights on international expansion in a bid to offset struggling domestic sales and falling profit. The company also plans to add lower-priced items to its line-up instead of relying on markdowns, but says it will “do this in our own handwriting” to avoid undermining its brand position. A&F outlined its plans after posting a 39.3% slump in third quarter profit to $38.8m as sales fell 15%.

Some very tough decisions taken late in 2008 – including the closure of its Geoffrey Beene chain and axing 10% of its workforce – and a recent revenue performance that has confounded expectations, have helped transform Phillips-Van Heusen's fortunes. FY profit forecasts have been adjusted upwards twice, most recently with its decidedly buoyant third quarter results, which saw profit jump 56% to US$83.6m.

An EU vote in favour of ending anti-dumping duties on footwear imports from China and Vietnam should surely mark the end of the saga which has dragged on now for nearly four years. But that’s not necessarily the case. Under EU rules, the majority vote by member states last week is not binding – and the EU's College of Commissioners will now discuss the issue before it goes to vote once more at next month’s Council.

Retailers are urging the EC to accept that any plans for import taxes on shoes from the two Asian countries are dead and buried. Particularly since uncertainties over the duties are making it difficult for them to plan ahead and source footwear from these countries.


BLOG

US border tax a contentious issue

Fresh from their disappointment at seeing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal abandoned last month with an executive order by President Donald Trump, the US apparel and footwear sector...

BLOG

Primark's sustainable cotton programme takes shape

With the ultimate aim of ensuring all the cotton in its products is sourced sustainably, value clothing retailer Primark is adamant that having a business model focused on offering the lowest prices o...

BLOG

Trump administration starts to shake up trade

Last week we marked the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States by taking a closer look at what's at stake for the textile and apparel trade – especially his promises t...

BLOG

Likely shifts in the sourcing landscape in 2017

Continuing our look at what lies ahead for the apparel industry and its supply chain in 2017, the panel of industry experts consulted by just-style last week tackled likely shifts in the sourcing land...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?