// M&S raids Asda’s George for online clothing boss
// M&S’s new ecommerce director is the commercial vice-president of Asda’s George brand, Stephen Langford
// He will report to M&S’s new clothing and home managing director, Richard Price
Marks & Spencer has raided the senior ranks of Asda’s George division to hire Stephen Langford as the head of its online clothing arm.
Langford will start at M&S as ecommerce director in just over a week’s time, and he will report to the retailer’s new clothing and home managing director, Richard Price, who joins from Tesco in July to lead efforts to turnaround M&S’ struggling apparel arm.
Langford also joins as the high street stalwart pivots further to be a digital-first retailer, with its online operation being reorganised as part of the post Covid-19 future.
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Simon Wood, who has been acting ecommerce director on an interim basis, will resume his former role of head of operations at M&S.com once Langford starts in his new role.
M&S group chief executive Steve Rowe said Langford would be “responsible for driving the transformation of our ecommerce business, helping to turbo-charge M&S.com and become an online winner in clothing and home”.
“Stephen knows the M&S business, having worked as our first multichannel merchandising manager in 2006, and since then has broadened his experience of transformation at Tesco and latterly as vice-president at George,” Rowe told staff in memo.
“During his time at George, he has led a significant change programme; growing market share and brand equity as well as lowering the cost base of the business.”
M&S is looking to accelerate its online business even further since the coronavirus lockdown led to the temporary closure of its already-struggling clothing and home stores.
Yesterday it revealed that shoppers will be able to purchase 1600 essential clothing lines along with their groceries through M&S’s tie-up with online retailer Ocado.
The news came shortly M&S unveiled a “£1 billion battle plan” in its full year trading update yesterday to battle through the Covid-19 crisis.
M&S saw its overall clothing and home sales drop 75 per cent for the six weeks to May 9, despite bras and sports clothes selling well.
While online clothing sales rose during the pandemic, growth was “not as fast as expected”.
M&S was also forced to cancel £100 million of late summer orders after it shut non-food stores and put £200 million worth of stock in warehouses to sell next year.
Despite this, M&S plans to add third-party clothing and home brands to its ecommerce offer and selected larger stores in a bid to widen the retailer’s appeal.