Blog: Paris offers no escape for M&S' domestic woes

Petah Marian | 24 November 2011

For all that Marks & Spencer had to be proud of today (24 November), it would be easy to imagine that chief executive Marc Bolland might be feeling a bit Down and Out in Paris and London, after its international success was dampened by concerns closer to home.

Speaking about its return to France with the opening of a store in Paris, Bolland described a "fashion riot", with police coming to check on the queues of up to 1,000 people wanting to shop its new Champs-Élysées store. Today should have been about celebrating the retailer's re-entry into the market a decade after it left.

Instead, the opening was overshadowed by rumours that M&S' executive director of general merchandise, Kate Bostock is in advanced talks with rivals to leave the company. A testy Bolland told one journalist to go back and listen to the tape when he asked again for more information about the highly regarded executive's plans. Perhaps tellingly, neither Bolland or Bostock issued an outright denial of the talks, with Bostock only saying that: "I am very disappointed at pieces in the press today. I am very proud of the team."

If that wasn't enough, questions also focused on rumblings about the retailer's plans to make suppliers contribute to its store revamp programme amid ongoing reports that some are refusing to pay. Bolland was able to be firmer in his denials of animosity, saying: "Don't create something that is not there."


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