Marks and Spencer CEO to retire

Chief executive Marc Bolland will step down as the boss of Marks & Spencer in April as announced on Jan 7, 2016.
Chief executive Marc Bolland will step down as the boss of Marks & Spencer in April as announced on Jan 7, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - British retailer Marks and Spencer said on Thursday (Jan 7) that chief executive Marc Bolland would retire, as the group announced a slump in clothing sales during the key Christmas trading period.

"Marks and Spencer Group plc today announces that Marc Bolland has informed the board that, after six years in the role, he wishes to retire as CEO in 2016," the clothing-to-food retailer said in a statement.

He will be succeeded by M&S veteran Steve Rowe at the start of April, who will receive a basic annual salary of £810,000 (S$1.69 million), it added.

While Mr Bolland has overseen a strong performance by the group's food division, clothing sales have consistently been weak under his stewardship.

M&S on Thursday said that sales in its general merchandise division, which includes clothing and household items but not food, slumped by 5.8 per cent in the 13 weeks to Dec 26 - hit by milder-than-expected weather.

"Unseasonal weather impacted sales across the clothing sector and resulted in unprecedented levels of promotional activity in the market," the company said.

On the upside, Mr Bolland said that M&S had delivered a "record Christmas" regarding sales of its food.