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From pants to pasta ... Marks & Spencer planning shake-up

New boss Steve Rowe intends to hitch the retailer's wagon more firmly to the foods side of the business.

M&S food hall
The food business has outperformed the general merchandise side

A big shake-up could be on the way at Marks & Spencer Group PLC (LON:MKS), with the retailer set to focus more on selling food.

Sky News reports that new boss Steve Rowe, who took over on 2 April and who used to be the executive director of General Merchandise, has shown little loyalty in his old division, and intends to hitch the retailer's wagon more firmly to the foods side of the business.

Rowe is also said to be planning to shut a number of shops as he attempts to revive the fortunes of the slumbering giant of the High Street.

According to Sky News, M&S plans to close a substantial number of shops, albeit over several years.

Many shops that will remain open will have more space allocated to selling food, and less to selling clothes.

As with any significant restructuring, the changes will lead to a significant one-off charge, according to Sky's sources.

The retailer could also follow the Tesco recovery blueprint and announce a cut-back on its overseas ambitions at a presentation to the City next week.

News agency Bloomberg reports that a number of store closures in China could be on the cards.

Shares were down 1.8% towards at the end of trading on Friday, and are down 24% year-to-date.

Quick facts: Marks and Spencer Group PLC

Price: 112 GBX

LSE:MKS
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £2.19 billion
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