January 18, 2018 / 4:04 PM / 5 months ago

M&S recruits marketing director for flagging food division

LONDON, Jan 18 (Reuters) - British retailer Marks & Spencer has recruited a marketing director for its food business as it seeks to get the division back on track after a year of underperformance.

M&S said on Thursday Sharry Cramond would join on Jan. 29 in the new role of marketing director, food and hospitality. She comes from U.S. firm Southeastern Grocers and has also worked for Tesco and Coles Australia.

The group re-set its strategy in November, two months after retail veteran Archie Norman joined as chairman. It said, for example, that it would slow down openings of standalone Simply Food stores.

M&S’s food business, which is focused at the premium end of the market, has reported four straight quarters of like-for-like sales decline - the latest in the key Christmas quarter.

Earlier this month, Chief Executive Steve Rowe said M&S had a lot of work to do to improve its food offer.

“We know we’ve got some issues that we’ve got to deal with around pricing, around availability, around operation and we are on to those,” he told reporters.

Cramond’s appointment forms part of a major restructuring of M&S’s marketing operation.

Nathan Ansell, currently marketing director customer & loyalty, has been appointed to the new role of marketing director, clothing & home, while Rob Weston will move to be marketing director, brand & customer.

All three will report to Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, executive director, customer, marketing & digital.

The marketing revamp is the latest in a raft of new year announcements from M&S. It has already detailed changes to its technology function and clothing and home logistics operation. (Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Mark Potter)

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