James Robb

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Who would you say is the ‘biggest legend’ in popular culture right now?

For me, the biggest ‘Legend’ in popular culture would be Ben Stokes, the England Cricketer. Not only is a great cricketer but he has also done a huge amount in raising awareness for mental health, highlighting how important it is to look after yourself above everything else.

What would you like your personal legacy to be? What have you achieved that’s unique or how have fulfilled your passion?

In the future, when I look back on my life, I want to have worked hard to achieve a great life for me and my family.

Is there a legend in your field who you would like to emulate? Or surpass? Or maybe you’re just determined to be totally original?

When I look at our business I draw motivation from our leaders. Steve Rowe, CEO, has been with the company from a graduate level. This goes to show that with a lot of hard work and determination, anything is possible within this business.

What does ‘innovation’ mean to you? Why is it important and where would you most like to see it applied?

Innovation is vital for a business like ours to stay modern and relevant for our customers. When looking at the most popular businesses in the world, they are all driven by innovation. For example, Amazon have opened till-less grocery stores where you can grab your groceries and go, and Tesla has been world-leading in the electric car industry. I’d most like to see innovation applied in our retail stores to make our company fit for the future.

What do you think the M&S of the future looks like? And how do you feel empowered to shape it?

I feel the future of M&S is looking very strong. Sadly, due to the pandemic, various competitors have closed their doors, presenting an opportunity for the business to fill these gaps in the market. Our Retail Leadership team are doing the right things to try and secure a solid future for the company and as a leader, I feel like I can make the decisions I deem necessary to improve my store and play my part in shaping the future of the business.

How do you think tech, digital and data will help shape the future of M&S?

Tech and digital will be a massive drive for the business going forward. With more of our competition moving online, we will need to act fast to adapt to an ever changing marketplace.

How do you view the way M&S does business? Is there anything you appreciate about its ethics, stance on sustainability or role in society?

With the business’ focus on Plan A, we aim to make sure that we are one of the most socially responsible retailers. We also have a big drive in the business to be as inclusive as possible. One example of this is the Neutrals Campaign in Lingerie where we have bettered ourselves as a company in light of the Black Lives Matter movement to be a more inclusive for all.