M&S hires Asda exec to lead e-commerce push

Marks & Spencer has poached George at Asda’s commercial vice president Stephen Langford as its new e-commerce director.

He will start in the next few weeks, reporting to the retailer’s new clothing and home managing director, Richard Price, who is set to join from Tesco in July to lead the turnaround strategy for M&S’ struggling apparel department.

Simon Wood, who has been e-commerce director on an interim basis, will resume his former role of head of operations at M&S.com once Langford starts.

M&S group chief executive Steve Rowe explained that Langford would be responsible for driving the transformation of the e-commerce side of the business, "helping to turbo-charge M&S.com and become an online winner in clothing and home”.

In a staff memo, he added: “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."

Yesterday, M&S unveiled a “£1 billion battle plan” in its full year trading update. It reported overall clothing and home falling by 75 per cent for the six weeks to 9 May.

The retailer 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 online offering and in selected larger stores.

M&S also announced that shoppers will be able to purchase underwear and children’s school clothes along with their groceries through its forthcoming tie-up with Ocado.

Ocado will offer 1,600 essential clothing lines, alongside more than 6,000 M&S food products.

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