are you going to recruit?
We will first look to existing staff to see if any of them want to work
extra hours, then we will go to the Job Centre to recruit from the area
as much as we can. We always recruit on the basis of ability and suitability,
but we expect the jobs to end up in the hands of local people.
What will be your favourite feature of the new store?
For the first time there is the space to display our full range
of goods.There is also an enormous lightness and airiness in the new building with
so much glass, natural lighting, lofty ceilings and plenty of space
to show the products at their best.It will set a new standard for us
and is very much our flagship store. We are absolutely thrilled by the
way it is shaping up. It will be so gorgeous.
Will we see new lines introduced specially for this store?
At the very top end we will try to add new products. There are lots
of initiatives coming through and we are working on various trials to
bring them all together for Manchester.Manchester shoppers love their
food and hopefully there should be a significantly extended range. How
long will it take to get all the stock into the new store? It will take
four weeks working almost 24 hours a day to get all the goods in and
to dress the store with attractive displays. Everyone wants it to look
just so for the opening.
will people find their way around such a large store?
There will be new signing, 14 escalators, large capacity scenic
lifts. There will be very large vistas across the sales floors - it
will be very easy to see where particular areas are and easy to get
to them. The original M&S store took the worst of the blast.
How did you feel when you heard about the bomb?
I was shocked and devastated when I heard about the damage, but
enormously relieved when I heard there had been no deaths.I have enormous
pride in the way the staff were so well organised in evacuating the
store and helping people in the street. Our biggest single asset is
our people. We take pride in them and we are thrilled they take pride
in us. M&S made special efforts to find new trading locations as soon
How important is Manchester to you?
We are focusing our effort on the city centre. It has an enormous future
and that is where we have concentrated. Manchester is a very important
store, one of our top ten. We needed to get back in action as soon as
possible for two main reasons. Firstly, we are here to serve our customers.
They rely on us and need access to our goods, products and services.
Secondly, we had to look after our staff -- they were upset, devastated
and we had to make sure we didn't lose them. We wanted to get them back
together to help their sense of community and pride. It was important
for the morale of Manchester as a city that the city would not be beaten
by this and put back on an even keel. That's been a huge achievement.
What do you think of the Exchange Square design - particularly as diners
in your new restaurant will overlook the square?
I think it's going to be brilliant, it will be an enormous enhancement
of the area. We couldn't have a finer outlook than the new Exchange
Square. It will be a wonderful setting for our store and the other fine
buildings. How do you think the Manchester Millennium team have performed?
It's an incredibly impressive achievement.
On that Saturday a couple of years ago no one would have dreamed of the devastation.
From nothing, the Council pulled together a group of people, started
the immediate mopping up and rebuilding confidence in the city centre.
What they have done is bring everything together to make an opportunity
not to be missed. It was a very bold move and wonderfully handled. It
is almost unbelievable we could come so far so fast. The whole place
will be transformed, and we will see that accelerating over the next