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M&S puts multichannel director in charge of its UK stores

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Marks & Spencer’s multichannel boss Laura Wade-Gery is taking charge of the company’s UK stores in order to ensure a single view of the customer.

Wade-Gery, currently M&S’ executive director, multichannel, takes on responsibility for UK retail, including the retailer’s 800 shops. Retail director Sacha Berendji will now report to her.

The move is part of a reorganisation that aims to widen spans of control, while streamlining processes and developing a more collaborative way of working. These, said M&S in a statement, would “combine to promote swifter decision-making and a speedier response to customers’ needs.”

It comes along with a new customer promise of ‘Enhancing lives. Every day,’ underpinned by four new core values of inspiration, innovation, integrity and in-touch.

“Over the last three years,” said Marc Bolland, chief executive of M&S, “we have worked hard to transform M&S into an international, multichannel retailer that is fit for the future of retail. We now have the right infrastructure in place to take our business forward, and as we enter the next phase of our plan, we need to make sure our team structures and internal processes allow us to move with pace, simplicity and speed.”

The reorganisation will also see Costas Antimissaris, appointed international director following the departure of Jan Heere, will report to Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, executive director, marketing and business development, and the company looks to boost its global brand.

Our view: This move to give multichannel director Laura Wade-Gery responsibility for UK stores is a logical step in a world where crosschannel retailing is gaining in ascendancy. But it’s an interesting one, nonetheless, for the direct way it puts the stores at the service of multichannel ambitions. The aim, says M&S, is to ensure a single view of the customer. And such a single view, extending from the stores to online and mobile, is really necessary in order to learn from customers and so retain their loyalty in the long-term.

This is an issue that Laura Wade-Gery discussed in her keynote speech at October’s Internet Retailing Conference. She went on to tell Internet Retailing magazine more about how she saw M&S’ multichannel development evolving. As Internet Retailing editor-in-chief Ian Jindal has commented on Twitter, both explain “why a pan-channel role was inevitable and deserved”.

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