steve rowe m&s marks and spencer

Source: Marks & Spencer

Steve Rowe warned that Marks & Spencer’s turnaround is 18 months behind schedule

At a meeting with analysts and investors, Marks & Spencer’s CEO Steve Rowe has admitted that the retailer’s turnaround plan for its clothing and home lines is 18 months behind schedule. Rowe, who is heading M&S’ clothing business after Jill McDonald was ousted over the summer, renewed promises to reduce the number of products by around 10%. However, analysts at the meeting were left disappointed and one went as far as attacking Rowe’s ‘whack-a-mole’ promises (The Financial Times £).

At the meeting, Rowe introduced M&S’s new plan to offer a ‘buy now pay later’ option to online shoppers as part of a ‘tactical action’ to offset the decline in sales (The Guardian).

Waitrose managing director Rob Collins will leave the business next year as John Lewis Partnership has decided to cut around a third of its management roles bringing together its department stores and supermatkets in an attempt to save £100m a year. From next year, the two divisions will run under a single eight-person executive team (The Financial Times £). 

Around 75 out of John Lewis’ 225 management posts - including the roles of managing director for both John Lewis and Waitrose - will be cut as part of the retailers cost-saving plan after the company swung to its first half-year loss (The Guardian). 

John Lewis chairman Charlie Mayfield has warned of more pain ahead as the chain faces a battle to fix its finances amid a high street crisis (The Telegraph).

Greggs shares tumbled on Tuesday after the on-the-go baker announced it expects 10 fewer shop openings this year, despite rising third-quarter sales. Greggs kept its expectations unchanged even though it flagged higher costs associated with its Brexit preparations (The Financial Times £).

Greggs, which switched to buying all its chesse from the UK, has started stockpiling tuna and bacon as it prepares for the event of a no-deal Brexit, chief executive Roger Whiteside said. The company has also leased extra storage space and will this month start stokpiling vulnerable ingredients (The Guardian, The Telegraph).

John Rogers, top contender for the role of chief executive at Sainsbury’s, will step down from the retailer at the end of the month to became CFO of advertising firm WPP. Industry observes noted that Rogers departure could signal that CEO Mike Coupe will stay put in his role despite the flack received after the failed Asda merger (The Telegraph). 

Amazon is pushing ahead to open a chain of grocery stores in the US as it signed a dozen leases around Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia. According to the Wall Street journal, cited by The Times, the new stores will not fall under the Whole Foods Market brand and will not directly comepte with it (The Times). 

The EU is set to impose hen welfare standards on egg imports for the first time as a condition to a trade agreement with Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Under the new regulation, eggs imported to the EU from those states will only be duty-free if the hens are kept in line with EU standards (The Guardian). 

Online fashion retailer Asos is set to reveal a board shakeroom tomorrow, including the appointment of Ocado’s technology solutions arm Luke Jensen as a non-executive director (Sky News, The Telegraph).