This is no ordinary promotion – this is an M&S promotion: Man lands dream job
- Credit: Paul Rich/Archant
This is no ordinary promotion. This is, for a man who's been working in the rag trade for the past 37 years, an M&S dream job.
Paul Rich, who lives in King's Lynn, has climbed the corporate M&S ladder for the past decade and finally landed the ultimate promotion - bossing menswear at the retailer's biggest store in the UK, Marble Arch in London.
Not only will he be managing more than 100 staff but he may even get to influence the look of the latest men's fashions including, of course, the staple purchase of many British male shoppers: M&S pants and socks.
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Paul started out working in men's fashion straight from college and quickly got promoted to the role of manager - first at independent men's designer clothing store Hatters in Norwich. He then had a stint working for bigger national retailers like HOF, Debenhams and Topshop before joining M&S nine years ago.
He's gone on to manage M&S stores across Norfolk and Suffolk including King's Lynn and Lowestoft, currently overseeing the Queensgate centre store based at Peterborough.
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He said: "I'm really proud to have a go at it, I've visited the London store a lot and every time I've walked through the door, I've thought one day, I'm going to be part of this. I'm a rag trader at heart and have always loved menswear so this is the biggest challenge in the company for me."
Paul hopes as part of his new role to be able to actually work with the buyers and influence what we'll see for sale. He added: "Menswear is changing; clothes are becoming less formal as less people buy a suit for work than they used to, we're also working with innovation in fabrics such as the '360 degree stretch' which allows movement in all directions. It used to be we only did large or regular fits but now we've got slim and skinny, so much more choice."
And then there are pants and socks. "It's a massive market," said Paul. "If you took 10 men, there would be at least three wearing our underwear."
Paul joined M&S in 2010 managing a team of 47 and four section managers in Lowestoft's M&S and quickly progressed to King's Lynn where he managed 98 staff. In 2014 he was made store manager of Brotherhood, Peterborough managing a 45,000 sqft flagship store for East Anglia and last year was made manager of Peterborough's M&S leading a three floor 50,000 sqft store.