M&S moots roster in design rethink

Marks & Spencer is looking to create its first roster of design consultancies to handle the packaging of its beauty and gift products, Design Week can exclusively reveal.

Marks & Spencer is looking to create its first roster of design consultancies to handle the packaging of its beauty and gift products, Design Week can exclusively reveal.

In the past, the retailer has selected design consultancies on an ad hoc basis, with consumer feedback helping to inform which packaging concepts to develop. It is now examining ways to organise design and control costs more effectively, and has held consultations with design groups to discuss the way in which such a roster might be organised.

A roster is one option that may prove less costly than the pitches and market research approach it has previously adopted. No-one at M&S was available to comment on these plans as DW went to press.

Industry reports also suggest that the company will make an internal announcement concerning the future structure of its design teams within the next few days. This is thought to be the result of a wider head office operational review that began in April. Sources close to the process anticipate that the company will imminently confirm the details of any job losses within its in-house design departments.

M&S anticipates that the broader review will lead to about 500 job cuts overall this financial year, followed by a further 500 next year. ‘We are reviewing all the departments in the head office change programme and will not be making an announcement on each one individually,’ explains an M&S spokeswoman.

Consultancies that have previously worked on M&S product packaging include Lewis Moberly, Lippa Pearce, Ziggurat and Pure.

Last month, M&S chief executive Stuart Rose appointed former Arcadia marketing head Steven Sharp as director of marketing, design and store development. This prompted the resignation of marketing director Alice Avis, who was due to report to Sharp.

Vittorio Radice, executive director of general merchandising, also resigned in June. Rose axed Radice’s Lifestore concept last week (DW 15 July).

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