Report: M&S Clothing Lead Could Depart

LONDON, United Kingdom — The head of Marks & Spencer’s clothing division may be on the verge of leaving the British retailer after less than two years in the job, Sky News reported.

Jill McDonald could step down as the company’s managing director for clothing, home and beauty as the division grapples with challenges to a recovery, Sky said. M&S declined to comment on the report.

Shares in the retailer were down 0.7 percent at 206.7 pence at 0915 GMT. They are down 30 percent from a year ago.

McDonald joined M&S in October 2017 to take on one of the biggest jobs in British fashion, having previously been the chief executive of bicycles to car parts company Halfords . Her appointment raised questions from some because she had no clothing retail experience.

M&S set out on its latest turnaround plan shortly after retail veteran Archie Norman became chairman in 2017 to work alongside Steve Rowe, who became chief executive in 2016 and has been with the company three decades.

McDonald was a Rowe hire. On appointment he highlighted her “fantastic customer insight” and a wealth of operational, retail and leadership experience developed at Halfords and fast-food giant McDonald’s.

M&S’s clothing and home like-for-like sales fell 1.6 percent in 2018-19 — a year which saw a third straight drop in group annual profit.