M&S seeks new design heads

Marks and Spencer is on the hunt for more senior designers in addition to replacements for design director Brian Godbold and head of womenswear design Sheilagh Brown.

The beleaguered retailer, which this week turned in yet another set of disappointing results, is looking to appoint at least two or three senior design heads. That number could rise depending on the candidates, according to an M&S spokeswoman.

The roles are at design head level and will report to the overall design director, once one is finally appointed. M&S, like many other clients, has struggled to attract top-level designers to its in-house post. Godbold’s post has been vacant for 18 months and M&S is believed to have been turned down by several leading designers. A senior figure in graphic design is understood to have been offered the post as Design Week went to press.

The appointments are being overseen by director of UK retail Roger Holmes, who joined in January. The company has just released Christmas trading results, which show a 4.8 per cent drop in clothing, footwear and gifts and a 6.7 per cent drop in home furnishing sales for the eight weeks to 20 January, compared to the same period last year.

However, it showed better performances for the 25 design-led new and revamped stores, which were rolled out last year and designed by M&S corporate designer for store environment Charles Jaggard.

A company statement reads: “The refurbished stores have, in aggregate, performed approximately 4 per cent ahead of comparable stores.”

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