M&S poaches Steinhoff UK CEO Stuart Machin for new food MD role

Managing Director of Food Stuart Machin

Marks & Spencer has poached Steinhoff UK’s group chief executive Stuart Machin to take on the newly-created role of food managing director to help overhaul the retailer’s food arm as part of its transformation plan.

Machin will join M&S in late April and will have overall profit and loss accountability for all aspects of the M&S food division.

He will report into M&S chief executive Steve Rowe, and work closely alongside clothing and home managing director Jill McDonald.

As a result of Machin’s appointment, Andy Adcock, who currently holds the director of food post, will leave M&S at the end of April after nine years with the business.

Machin’s appointment also comes after M&S recently hired grocery supply chain guru Lawrence Christensen to work as part-time independent adviser, focusing on the retailer’s food retail arm on how to best transport food from supplier to store.

Part of Rowe’s transformation plan for M&S is to arrest a slump in trade in its food retail division, which was once star of the business.

Sales in food grew 4.4 per cent in the 26 weeks to September 30, but like-for-likes slipped 0.1 per cent.

The recent slowdown prompted M&S to open fewer new Simply Food stores.

“We face challenges in our food business and we have lots to do to change, fast,” Rowe said.

“Stuart is an excellent addition to our team. He gets food retailing and he has first class experience of driving change in big food retailers.

“At M&S we need to sharpen our prices, improve our products, drive profitability and grow market share – Stuart is the right leader to get on and deliver these changes.”

Machin has over 30 years of experience leading and executing retail transformation in both the UK and in Australia.

M&S said he was both an established food expert and has also “driven radical change programmes” in non-food.

Prior to joining Steinhoff, Machin was chief executive of value retail chain Target Australia for three years.

Before that, he was the chief operating officer of Coles, one of Australia’s two big supermarket chains.

His food retail career also includes stints at Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

“My heart lies in food retail and I am excited to bring my passion for dynamic, customer-led Food retailing to M&S,” Machin said.

“The business has many reasons to be proud of its food offer but there are also opportunities and lots to deliver under the transformation plan that Steve has laid out. I am looking forward to joining the team.”

On arrival, Machin will be working closely with newly appointed food marketing director Sharry Cramond who is transforming M&S Food marketing focused on improving customer perceptions on price and provenance.

M&S said Machin’s appointment further strengthens the top team, which includes McDonald and chief financial officer designate Humphrey Singer, who will join the retailer later this year.

Rowe’s overall transformation strategy – initially announced in November 2016 and accelerated when retail veteran Archie Norman joined as chairman a year later – includes plans to reposition around 25 per cent of M&S clothing and home space through a combination of closures, downsizes, relocations and conversions to food-only stores.

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  1. It’s really frustrating that M&S has all the business direction of an ampersand.

    Despite customers clearly wanting Marks and Spencer food and not it’s threads, they continue to dither around with the fashion side and under invest in the food side of the business.

    By now we should be seeing British racing green home delivery vans with Marks & Spencer on the side written in gold. The Food Halls should be on the main floor at the FRONT of the store (and ground floor) not hidden behind racks of clothes where nobody is shopping, or hidden away downstairs.

    Marks and Spencer has the brand power in food that could still wipe Waitrose off the market share, but still, decades after material drop in clothing sales, they are putting out negative news about falling sales.

  2. Marks & Spencers is far to expensive nice quality I agree but I find they are doing far to much mark downs as their food clearly is not selling they need to be more competitive in the market, I only ever shop there once in a while for their £10 pounds meal deal. And I agree with Charles comment above they are hidden in stores I some times forget they are there.

  3. I have listened to new technology I watched it yesterday on the internet I do not know if it is in use or not yet. that the main shop is on street like way and people can choose food like vegetables, fruits, and other food things. and you do not need to come out from your car you just have to choose your things and put in on a rolling conveyor and after packing them you can pay the bill on the same queue. that technique was so amazing.
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