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Mark Bolland confused at Marks & Spencer. New captain anyone?

Remember the one about HP leaving the PC behind?  At the point where the PC giant decided to run away from the tablet and PC markets, its channel stock got dumped to low, low prices – and sales increased – prompting calls for (a) heads to roll and (b) new PC and tablet products to be launched. We wonder how M&S shareholders will react to the latest financials from the retail monolith?

When Marc Bolland, former head of Morrison’s, took the reins at UK monolith M&S – the Dutchman was clear. In order to return to winning ways, he insisted that they must focus on their core businesses – underwear and food. Anything else, like electronics, was deemed a huge distraction and must be avoided. KitGuru reported on this, in detail, way back in November.

Insiders close to M&S have now told KitGuru that sales are up around 2.4%, which – in a global recession – is pretty impressive.

But they have also exclusively revealed to us that online revenue from the sale of electronics is up a whopping 28%.

Whoops. Who knew?

Well, actually, a few people it turns out. James Max is a famous radio presented in the UK and a former investment banker. He was at Morgan Stanley when they defended M&S against a hostile takeover attempt. More recently, he has been dissecting Marc Bolland’s performance to date – clear that he’s the weakest link in the whole of the M&S corporate structure.

When M&S launched IT, it did so with a full spread of technologies and gadgets. In fact, the most popular item on the M&S technology shelf is an LCD picture frame. Could it be that there is a lot of money for M&S to pick up in this segment – but it needs a product line up that appeals to grannies?

When Marc Bolland is not getting rid of fast selling electronics departments, he's busy replacing yesteryear's strong branding adverts with 'forgettable bland'. OK, Twiggy was the first UK supermodel, we get that - but who is the anonymous bunch on the right?

KitGuru says: No one knows if Marc Bolland will run or be forced out of Marks & Spencer, but one thing is for sure. To come out and say that your company should pull back from technology sales – only to be hit with an increase in revenues of almost one third, must demand that serious questions be asked about the leadership.

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