Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Marks & Spencer Drops WPP's Finsbury PR in Cost-Cutting Push

  • Corporate communications will be handled by internal team
  • CEO Rowe striving to cut costs, focus on M&S’s core business

Marks & Spencer Group Plc is severing ties to financial public-relations adviser Finsbury at the end of March as the London-based retailer seeks to cut costs.

M&S’s internal press-relations team will take over responsibility for the work Finsbury has been carrying out since the WPP Plc-owned agency was hired by former Chief Executive Officer Marc Bolland in 2013. On average, the contract is said to have cost M&S between 250,000 pounds and 300,000 pounds ($370,000) a year, a person familiar with the matter said.

The retailer no longer plans to use a full-service financial public-relations firm, a spokesperson said, confirming that Finsbury is being dropped. M&S is said to be close to appointing an independent senior adviser to assist the executive team on financial communications, the person familiar with the matter said.

The move is in keeping with Chief Executive Officer Steve Rowe’s effort to make M&S slimmer and less complicated. In September, M&S announced a restructuring of its London head office that resulted in about 525 job losses and is expected to save it about 30 million pounds a year. In November, the CEO announced plans to exit 10 international markets and shutter 30 stores in the U.K.

Finsbury did not immediately respond to a request for comment.