Less is more will be the new mantra at M&S’s food division as a scattergun approach to new product development is replaced with more targeted innovation, suppliers have been told.

In what one supplier described as a “very frank and honest presentation,” at the chain’s food supplier conference, Rose warned M&S had taken its eye off the ball when it came to focused innovation, concentrated too much on quantity rather than quality and risked losing its competitive edge.

M&S had been expecting to launch about 1,000 new products during the year, which would generate about 10% of sales, added the supplier. Instead it had introduced 1,400 new lines that had in turn only generated 6% of overall sales.

He added: “There is too much duplication. The aim is to rationalise the range by up to 20% and do more focused npd and promotions.”

There would also be a renewed emphasis on reducing wastage and improving on-shelf availability.