‘Jeansgate’ exposes Marks and Spencer’s deeper fashion flaw

Too little stock for the Holly Willoughby range forced one boss out, but M&S has been getting it wrong for years

The sacking of Marks & Spencer’s clothing supremo this week ensured Jill McDonald became the first high-profile casualty of a more ruthless regime determined to prevent oblivion for the 135-year-old chain.

McDonald’s departure was blamed on what was referred to as “jeansgate” within M&S. Her buyers failed to order enough stock for a collection promoted by TV presenter Holly Willoughby, which meant it quickly sold out leaving the retailer with empty rails in its stores for almost a month. The mistake led to what M&S’s overall boss, Steve Rowe, damningly described as the poorest stock levels “I have ever seen in my life”.

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