Marks & Spencer has effected a dramatic U-turn by putting all work by its external retail design consultancies on hold, just three weeks after stating its latest problems would not affect them.
All projects by retail consultancies 20/20, Rodney Fitch & Co and Din Associates have been suspended as M&S restructures its marketing department.
The move contradicts previous statements that its marketing review would not affect in-house or external designers. M&S has asserted that in-store design was a priority (DW 5 April).
Rodney Fitch & Co, 20/20 and Din Associates have been working on plans for M&S’s footwear, menswear and womenswear departments respectively.
An M&S spokesman says the consultancies have not lost their contracts but are on hold until M&S “can get its internal structure right”. He says it will be weeks rather than days before design work will resume.
A spokeswoman for 20/20 says she has no idea when its work will recommence, and says the menswear concepts that it is developing are at an early stage.
“We respect [its] decision. It is having a tough time and we are looking forward to continuing our relationship,” she adds.
Din Associates managing director Rasshied Din refuses to comment on the news.
No one from Rodney Fitch & Co was available for comment as Design Week went to press.
Digital work by Wheel and Design House is unaffected, both consultancies maintain.