M&S hires Arcadia marketer Alison Jones as brand director

Marks & Spencer has poached Arcadia marketing director Alison Jones and appointed her brand director for general merchandise, a new role created by chief executive Marc Bolland.

Alison Jones: appointed brand director for general merchandise at M&S
Alison Jones: appointed brand director for general merchandise at M&S

Jones, who will report to M&S marketing director Steve Sharp, will work closely with head of merchandise Kate Bostock, overseeing marketing of M&S's clothing and homeware.

In November Bolland said he planned to recruit two brand directors to drive the brand's marketing, and last month nabbed Robert Weston from John Lewis to take up the mantle of brand director for food.

Jones joined Philip Green's Arcadia last year to oversee plans to integrate its retail brands into the BHS chain. Before that, she was at Debenhams, where she was marketing director. She is the daughter of retail magnate Sir David Jones, former chairman of Next.

News of Jones's appointment comes a week after M&S announced impressive full-year results – an 11% lift in pre-tax profits for its full trading year, after a concerted marketing drive helped lift sales in food and clothing. The chain reported pre-tax profits of £780.6m in the 52 weeks to 2 April, up £80m from £702.7m in the 53 weeks to 3 April 2010.

Bolland said M&S is making a conscious effort to overhaul the make-up of its stores, after customers complained they found them "difficult to shop". This includes a move to tailor stores to demographic factors such as wealth, age and ethnicity, rather than segmenting them solely on store size.

In April, Bolland poached Morrison executive and Christopher Taylor to head up its Simply Food stores.