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May 5, 2022

New M&S womenswear director to focus on sustainable growth

UK retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has announced Maddy Evans will be the new director of womenswear from July with the current director stepping down after four years.

By Laura Husband

M&S director of womenswear, kidswear and beauty, Jill Stanton, is stepping away from a full-time executive career, which means Evans, who is the current head of buying for womenswear, will be taking on the womenswear aspect of Stanton’s role in two months’ time with a focus on sustainable growth.

Evans joined the company at the end of 2019 and has been part of the reshaping of the womenswear department with initiatives such as ‘The Edit,’ that aimed to grow the retailer’s hero categories such as denim and she has also overseen key fashion collaborations such as M&S x Ghost.

Evans is said to have made a big impact in terms of changing customer perceptions on the retailer’s womenswear department and in terms of what value for money means with a focus on both quality and style.

She is expected to focus solely on womenswear as a key business area in her new position and will work alongside the other category directors to shape the product offering for the future and get back to sustainable growth.

She plans to broaden the roles of the menswear director (Wes Taylor) and home director (Heidi Woodhouse) as part of this goal. Key changes will include kidswear reporting into the menswear director and beauty reporting into the home director.

The plan for kidswear is to shift it from special occasion to everyday style and value in order to make important market share gains. While home and beauty which are described as being fundamental to the gifting offering, will work more closely together in terms of cross-ranging and cross-selling.

Evans is also keen to provide team members with opportunities to progress and highlights that Monique Leewenburgh, who was head of product innovations until February this year, is now the director of sourcing for clothing and home.

Jill Stanton who is stepping down from her position is described as being pivotal for the reshaping of the product offering across womenswear, kids and beauty to being more modern, stylish, and relevant. Stanton also recruited and developed her team over the four years, and Evans was one of the first people she recruited.

Later this month M&S CEO Steve Rowe will stand down as part of a planned succession programme.

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