RETAILER Marks & Spencer overhauled its top team after reporting its worst performance in non-food sales for more than three years.
Kate Bostock, who is responsible for clothing ranges as head of general merchandise, will leave the group in October, with former Debenhams and Jaeger boss Belinda Earl coming in as style director.
The 6.8% decline in clothing and general merchandise sales in the 13 weeks to June 30 – the worst since December 2008 – will ramp up pressure on chief executive Marc Bolland, who faced shareholders at the company’s annual meeting.
He has blamed continuing stock supply issues and the poor weather conditions for the weak trading figures at the company’s 700 stores in the UK.
The retailer is now worth less than rival Next on the London stock market, while online fashion store Asos added to the strain on M&S by reporting a better-than-expected 8% rise in UK sales today.
The figures will fuel fears that Marks, the UK’s biggest fashion retailer, is losing its grip on the key womenswear market, with some analysts reporting that its ranges are off-trend.