M&S appoints new head of food online
Written by Hannah McGrath
Marks and Spencer has appointed a former online boss at Tesco as its new head of food online, as the business forges ahead with its digital transformation plans.
Samantha Hornsby joined M&S at the beginning of January after nine years at Tesco, where she was most recently head of online range and development. Her previous roles at Tesco included head of platform development for F&F Online and head of online strategy and propositions.
She takes over from Tim Lee, who left last year to take up the chief executive role at Mindful Chef, a food box delivery service.
Hornsby will head up a team tasked with expanding M&S’ growing online grocery business.
A spokeswoman for M&S said: "A few years ago, we announced that food online was an area we needed to look at and address, and we said we would be doing some small-scale trials in that space”
She added:"We have had a really longstanding online food delivery service in terms of wine, Christmas-food-to-order and party food, etc, which our head of food online looks after. The role oversees what we already do online and any trialling we do in that space.”
News of her appointment follows reports earlier this week that the High Street retailer has held secret talks with delivery firm Ocado about a potential tie up involving delivery and logistics networks as part of a full-scale move into online grocery sales.
The Mail on Sunday reported that the expansion of its digital grocery proposition - which until now has been limited to small scale trials, wine and its party food catering business - would likely be a central pillar of M&S chairman Archie Norman’s plans to use its strong food business to turn around the company’s fortunes, as clothing and homeware sales fall.
The retailer saw a drop of 1.2 per cent in like-for-like food sales over the Christmas period, compared to an overall fall in sales of 3.9 per cent, amid a backdrop of turbulence for the UK High Street.
Earlier this month, M&S revealed plans to close a further 17 stores by 2022 as part of its overall commitment to shutter 100 stores and undergo digital transformation as consumer spending shifts online.