In the week that Ocado joined the FTSE100 while M&S hung onto its place at the top table, retail royalty Lord Rose joined Michael Hayman for the latest Capital Conversation.
Retail has been rocked in recent weeks with news of closures and restructuring from the likes of House of Fraser and Toys R Us. Commenting on the recent results of his old firm, the formerM&S Chief Executive says it has still not managed to fully appreciate digital opportunities, ‘They should have a greater presence online. They were very late into the game. It’s a business which has been slow to espouse change.’
Since his departure from M&S Lord Rose has moved on to a number of different positions, including a role as non-executive chairman at online supermarket Ocado. Does online threaten the death of the big shop? Lord Rose remains sceptical, “It is simply another iteration of what the consumer wants.”
A serial businessman who has played a part in some of the biggest buy-outs and mergers in retail history, his influence extends far beyond business. In 2016 he led the ultimately unsuccessful ‘Britain Stronger in Europe’ campaign. Commenting on the outcome, he says, “We had a bad campaign, we focused on the wrong things in my opinion and I think the other side, frankly, was less than truthful about some of the opportunities coming out of Europe.”
Campaigner, businessman and a member of the House of Lords – how does he fit it all in? He says it’s simple, “I don’t have a a dog, I don’t have a wife, my children are grown up, I don’t do drugs, I don’t do horses, I don’t play golf – so I go to work!”
Watch Lord Rose’s full Capital Conversation interview here.
Read about the interview in Evening Standard here.