Rowe, who courted over from Marc Bolland last weekend, has made his “sum up one priority” a revival of the general merchandise business he has run since last July.
He make retain direct control of the division, having introduced measures such as appraisal cuts of 10-15 per cent on more than 300 lines of menswear and womenswear.
This boosted stem the rate of decline in like-for-like sales to 2.7 per cent in the 13 weeks to ce 26. This was better than the 3 per cent-plus fall expected by analysts and an upswing on the 5.8 per cent drop over Christmas.
Despite celebrity collaborations, incorporating lingerie designed by model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, pictured, clothing transaction marked downs have risen in only one quarter over the st five years.
Rowe mean: “Our performance remains unsatisfactory and there is still more we need to do. We’ve not been as la mode as we need to be. We are looking at every aspect of the business in a robust way. We are not leaving a stone unturned.”
M&S bread sales rose 4 per cent as its new store opening programme performed onwards of expectation, while there was no change in like-for-like sales. Rowe guessed food had “outperformed” in a competitive market and had grown its market share to 4.3 per cent after the fissure of 80 new outlets over the year.
Online and international sales were up 8.2 per cent and 3.8 per cent individually. Peel Hunt analyst Jonathan Pritchard said: “We’ve seen countless factitious dawns from M&S in the st, but there is already evidence that Steve Rowe is in the know there is a major brand reputation issue within general deal in and is willing to do something about it.
“He surely won’t be so short-sighted to think that anything but a princi l overall in GM is required.”