M&S restructuring good for designers

Far from being bad news for in-house designers and external consultants, the latest tribulations of beleaguered retail giant Marks & Spencer could benefit them long-term as it focuses on its UK clothing and food efforts.

Far from being bad news for in-house designers and external consultants, the latest tribulations of beleaguered retail giant Marks & Spencer could benefit them long-term as it focuses on its UK clothing and food efforts.

Last week M&S announced a radical restructuring plan, which includes closing operations in seven countries and cutting about 4400 jobs, 1000 of which are in the UK. The aim of the move is to concentrate on its UK stores, particularly in-store layout, clothing and food, says an M&S spokesman.

Consultancies 20/20, Rodney Fitch & Co and Din Associates, which are advising M&S on its mens-, foot- and womenswear departments respectively, will continue to work with the retailer.

Digital consultancy Wheel, which axed 20 per cent of its workforce blaming a “market blizzard” (DW 29 March), will continue to work on M&S’ website. Since its launch in November 1999, www.marksandspencer.co.uk has grown to feature around 3000 products and M&S is considering expanding into selling food on-line.

M&S’ in-house design teams are not affected by the changes and it will continue to work with Lewis Moberly creative director Mary Lewis, who is its packaging design consultant, and Interbrand creative director Rodney Mylius, who is M&S acting creative director.

National newspaper reports that the company is selling off its Baker Street headquarters to move to West London’s Paddington Basin are rumours, according to the spokesman, but it has been considering a move because the HQ building is worth about £200m, he claims.

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