Marks & Spencer share price: Group drops WPP’s Finsbury PR

Move comes as retailer continues with cost-cutting push

Marks & Spencer share price: Group drops WPP’s Finsbury PR

Marks & Spencer Group (LON:MKS) is severing ties to financial public-relations adviser Finsbury at the end of the month, Bloomberg has revealed. The move comes as the high street retailer looks to trim costs under chief executive Steve Rowe.

Marks & Spencer’s share price has slipped marginally into the red in London this morning, having shed 0.24 percent to 328.51p as of 09:05 GMT. The decline is largely in line with losses in the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having slipped 0.16 percent to 7,413.36 points. The group’s shares have lost more than a fifth of their value over the past year, and are down by some six percent in the year-to-date.

Bloomberg reported on Friday that M&S was dropping WPP’s Finsbury public-relations adviser at the end of the month, with the retailer’s press-relations team set to take over responsibility for the work carried out by the PR firm since it was hired by former Chief Executive Officer Marc Bolland in 2013. A person familiar with the matter told the newswire that on average, the contract is said to have cost the group between £250,000 and £300,000 a year.

The source further noted that the blue-chip retailer was close to appointing an independent senior adviser to assist the executive team on financial communications. A spokesperson for M&S meanwhile confirmed to Bloomberg that the company no longer planned to use a full-service financial public-relations firm.

The move is part of Steve Rowe’s efforts to trim costs at the high street retailer, which also include restructuring the group’s head office in London, as well as exiting several international markets. Last week, news emerged that M&S was pulling out of China’s high street this month, barely a year after opening its tenth store in the country, amid ‘low brand awareness’.

As of 09:37 GMT, Monday, 20 March, Marks and Spencer Group Plc share price is 328.40p.

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