The new CEO of Marks & Spencer, Steve Rowe, has pledged to lure “Mrs M&S” from its fashion rivals in a new bid to reverse declining sales.

The plan involves getting rid of repetitive capsule collections; improving style, fit and quality; and pleasing the company’s loyal customer.

“Mrs M&S, we need to cherish and celebrate her and give her what she needs,” Rowe told the BBC Radio’s Today programme, reports the London Evening Standard.

Story continues below
Advertisement

His comments came as pre-tax profits fell by almost a fifth in the 53 weeks to April 2 to £488.8 million.

He added: “Our customers look to M&S not for fashion trends but for accessible products they can wear with confidence.”

“Quality will remain central to our thinking. Whether buying T-shirts or dresses; socks or suits; vests or school uniform, our customers will recognise M&S has returned to being famous for unrivalled quality.”

But the new vision hasn’t impressed corporate finance group Livingstone.

Partner Simon Cope-Thompson said: “New CEO, but unfortunately the same old story for M&S – revamping the retailer’s lacklustre fashion offering to provide something consumers will finally get excited about is the rock that just keeps rolling back down the mountain. M&S has made repeated attempts to widen its appeal to a younger audience, with little lasting success.

“Rowe claims to now know who the M&S customer is. The reality is that their core customer probably hasn’t changed; what has is the competitive environment on the High Street. M&S has tried to keep up, but the pace of industry changes has left it lagging behind.”