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Is a Sourcing Shakeup on the Way at Marks & Spencer?

Photo: Marks & Spencer Autograph collection for S/S ’16

Marks & Spencer’s new chief executive, Steve Rowe, has been making his presence felt since he took the top spot at the British retailer in April.

Rowe, a company veteran who most recently served as the executive director of general merchandise, reshuffled the management team earlier this month and now it looks like further changes could be on the horizon.

People familiar with the matter told Sky News that Rowe is reviewing whether the contracts of brothers Mark and Neal Lindsey should be extended when they expire next spring.

The Hong Kong-based siblings, who came out of retirement in March 2014 to help turn around Marks & Spencer’s apparel business, are in charge of sourcing clothing and footwear. They oversee the retailer’s network of regional sourcing offices around the world as well as its central sourcing team in London, and their base salaries are 400,000 pounds (about $579,180) each.

But source have said it’s “highly likely” that they will step down in 2017 once their three-year contracts are up.

The retailer’s recently reported fourth-quarter results included yet another decline in clothing sales, despite improved ranges and designs, better prices on particular lines, and a more expansive spring/summer collection.

“Turning around our clothing and home business by improving our customer offer is our number one priority,” Rowe said in early April.

A month after that announcement, Marks & Spencer revealed that five directors would be leaving the business as part of efforts to streamline the management structure. Those departing included: Costas Antimissaris, international director; Florence De Boosere, store environment and product presentation director; Stephanie Chen, kidswear and home director; Mark Koprowski, Middle East regional director; and David Walmsley, M&S digital director.

A statement said that while Marks & Spencer’s style director, Belinda Earl, would stay in her current part-time role, she would no longer be part of the operating committee.

Later this week, Rowe is expected to outline plans to reduce the number of brands sold by the retailer. A source told Sky, “There will be a real emphasis on reducing duplication. He will make it absolutely clear who M&S’ core customers are and what we will be doing to serve them better.”