Financial News

  • 9 July 2014, 10:31

How Does Under-Fire M&S Chief Keep His Job?

You know what they say ?"the figures don't lie"?

Well here are some scary figures for Marks & Spencer.

The purveyor of the nations' pants has now clocked up 12 consecutive quarters of falling clothing sales.

That's three whole years - despite the fact one in five men wear their slippers.

Online sales are down 8.1% - despite the £150m invested in web expansion.

CEO Marc Bolland, who took up the post in 2010, has now exceeded the three-year turnaround plan he gave himself to get better results.

You can see why investors' patience is wearing thin.

Just how thin was evident at the company's annual meeting at Wembley stadium following this latest poor earnings report.

M&S shareholders stepped up to the microphone one after the other to ask Mr Bolland and the board chairman Robert Swannel quite simply: why should we believe a word you say today, when all your promised improvement over the years hasn't materialised?

The subtext was "the figures don't lie ? and they are so dismal, that we are starting to suspect that you are!"

There were also - the now fairly routine - digs at Mr Bolland's leadership, as well as demands that he depart.

So how does Mr Bolland hold on to the top job in light of such sickly sales figures?

Here's another number that gets to the heart of that mystery: 33.

M&S shares have risen 33% over the last two years, whereas the FTSE has gained only 20%.

And that cannot be attributed simply to the love of their pants.

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