‘Give your style staples a rethink’ James Munson
James Munson is the current Managing Director of M&S India. James replaced Venu Nair who left Marks & Spencer on 20th April 2017 to pursue a new role as Chief Commercial Officer for Trent Limited.
James takes care of the growth of Marks & Spencer’s joint venture business in India with Reliance Retail. With 57 stores across 27 cities, India has the largest number of Marks & Spencer stores outside of the UK. The retailer is also growing its online reach across the country via leading fashion platforms Myntra, AJIO and most recently with Amazon.
James is a seasoned retail professional with over 20 years of experience in the industry, including six years working in India and the Czech region. He has held various leadership positions across the business including Store Manager at Camberley and Kingston, two of Marks & Spencer’s largest UK stores. In 2011, he was appointed as Marks & Spencer Reliance India’s Head of Retail including responsibilities for Supply Chain and Visual Merchandise. In 2014, James was appointed Managing Director of the Czech Group with responsibility for 48 stores in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, and Estonia.
India has emerged as the second largest market for Marks & Spencer and the retailer is looking at a double digit growth in terms of store addition in the coming years said a top company management official. The British retailer has celebrated a major milestone in 2019 with the opening of its 75th store in Chennai and another one in Hyderabad.
Going forward with its expansion drive, M&S is now looking at the every growing markets of tier-II and tier-III towns and also plans to increase the products range with more local relevance.
“India has now the largest market for us outside UK. The company clocked a turnover of Rs.908 crore in India in FY 2017-18 and expects to continue its growth momentum further in the next fiscal. “In FY 2019-20, we would continue double digit growth in terms of store addition on like-to-like basis.” – James Munson, MD, Marks & Spencer India
For M&S, India is a “strategic market”, where there is acceptance of international brands and has space to grow.
After recent openings, M&S now has 76 stores across 32 cities and is continuously expanding its presence and has opened six stores in last 48 days
The retail brand sources around 30 percent material locally from India and the rest is from imports and is planning to increase more products which are relevant to the customers in India.
M&S products are also present on the fast growing online sales through its several channel partners. Although, the present contribution of online sales is in single digit but Munson expects it to grow further.
M&S opened its first store in India in 2001 and in April 2008 signed a JV with Reliance Retail to form Marks & Spencer Reliance India Pvt Ltd. Established in 1884, M&S is one of the UK’s leading retailers and trades in 57 markets, with over 400 stores and online presence in 33 markets.
Q. How has the change in your pricing strategy helped establish a stronger foothold in the Indian market, considering the fact that it is highly price sensitive?
Q. India has one of the largest networks of M&S outlets outside the UK. What are your plans for the future?
Q. In the UK you sell seven-pack socks while in India it is only three pairs. What is the kind of research that made you decide on this?