M&S fires fashion head; CEO to take personal charge

M&S says its clothing boss Jill McDonald is leaving the business because the transformation of its longtime ailing fashion department must “move on at pace”.

Possibly, putting somebody who had previous experience at McDonalds UK, Colgate, British Airways and Halfords - but none in fashion retail - might now not look like the brightest of ideas.

Let’s face it, M&S’s pool of clothing customers is ever shrinking - mostly through, ahem, natural wastage. The fact that they would call their clothing department ‘fashion’ probably hints at the degree to which M&S has taken their eye off the ball on this one.

Failed re-vamp after failed re-vamp at M&S has done little to lift their fortunes. Is this indicative of the woes of the wider high street - or is M&S’s non-food offer just a complete basket case?

to be fair… M&S’s food offering can be questionable as well.

As much as they are probably thanking the lord that it never happened given what’s happened since, and what an awful person he is to work for, but I always thought Phillip Green had the right idea (at least in terms of what he said) when he tried to buy it and said that M&S needed to become a special place to shop.

All shops are going to need to become the Harrods of their particular niche. They need to go back to the Harry Selfridge idea of stores being a circus of retail, you need to feel like you’re in an exciting awe inspiring place that you will want to stay for some time. All the successful stores have got that. Even someone like Primark have mastered this. It may not be what some of us like to do, but the whole ‘rummaging for a bargain, rooting through the shoot slung all over the place, throwing your unwanted shoot on the floor, is at the and of the day a version of this retail circus, the target customers love all that and get quite excited that they can come out with 4 bagfuls of ‘bargains’ for £6.20. This is entirely what M&S needs.

It needn’t even stop catering for the grannies, they don’t like shopping in dowdy, dirty uninspiring places either. Make the shopping experience a really special, exciting one and people will come in droves. But that costs money, A LOT of money, and I’m not sure a public company will ever get shareholders to agree to that. They’d rather take their ever diminishing dividends than hold off getting anything for 5 years or more and perhaps a load of share dilution when they get a chunk of new cash in, while the company sorts itself out root and branch to save itself.

You can see sadly it’s the next Woolworths as it’s plotted exactly the same path. It’s managed to hang on longer, perhaps as how Kingfisher spun off Woolies and Comet and kept B&Q becoming a DIY group, M&S will eventually sell/close the Marks & Spencer stores and become a supermarket chain under the Foodhall or Simply Food brands or such, but I can’t see it being around much longer as a clothing retailer unless someone with big money takes it private and spends 10 years remoulding it into a modern retailer. Perhaps C&A fancy a return to the UK, or Jeff Bezos will only wear M&S socks and gets them shipped over on pallets and would fancy a punt…

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Marks and Spencer’s is a mess; I think the main issue is that it has a “loyalty” card system that doesn’t and isn’t working for them at all.

I signed up for a Sparks card and used it (a lot) for two weeks (which was whilst I had the offer of 10% off of food available to me.) I buy a lot of food from M&S mainly as it’s the store that I walk through when leaving work.

I found as soon as the opening offers expired that there was and still is nothing of note to replace them with; all the points equate to is unlocking spots for more offers that I don’t have available to me and I don’t want… I literally only ever buy food in there!

I’ve now mostly turned to buying soft drinks and my lunch whenever I fancy a sandwich from Boots; why? Simply because it’s a slight bit cheaper and I can automatically claim 5% back as Airtime Rewards without having to scan another card.

M&S needs to change, but it doesn’t. The food side is good, but that’s all there is of any value to most people, they still don’t even do deliveries, and people that are busy or don’t have one close want deliveries. The closes one to me is in the next town, a town I don’t visit, so I no longer use M&S. Well apart from the Raspberry Vodka at Xmas, but they deliver drinks.

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… Also pressing the link simply informs that the survey is closed… I genuinely think that the people doing the digital and marketing side of M&S have just given up and gone home.

All it would take for me to shop their more often is a decent small reward or joining a decent rewards scheme and the option for me to pick a Sparks charity that I want; such as Mind.

See’s “M&S” and “fashion” together in the title of thread and nearly dies laughing…


I think M&S should hire the big guns of marketing - @anon4616356

I occasionally pop in to the C&A in the Galeria Krakowska. I can’t help feel that if they have clung on for a few more years they might have found their market here.

It’s essentially the Primark model with a slightly enhanced chance that your t-shirt might survive its first wash.

A couple of times recently I chanced across really good offerings in M&S men’s clothing. Did they keep making them long enough (talking a couple of months max) to buy more? No

And two days ago they featured an item from their women’s clothing on Instagram that had already sold out and was not being restocked

They’ve got their issues indeed

Recently found myself in their new out-of-town store at York’s Vanguard Centre, looking for a pair of shoes.

Complete waste of time. The shoes were badly arranged, hard to find and -despite their price tags - just looked cheap.

The rest of the menswear department was pretty underwhelming also, but I suppose I’m not in their target demographic (if anybody knows who M&S target these days?).

Bought a cheese scone from the food hall and left.

M&S really is a crumbling relic. I’m not sure it’s reachable at this point. Even their food offer is not what it was.