Marks & Spencer proudly celebrates Justine Brook, a seasoned retail professional with over 30 years of service to M&S, as the remarkable Store Manager for the newly opened M&S store in Leeds’ White Rose.
Although the new store opened to customers in May, Justine has been working on the opening for many months prior. In her role as Store Manager for White Rose, Justine oversaw the recruitment of more than 230 new colleagues and has been setting out a blueprint for the store opening process for her fellow store managers to follow later this year.
Justine began her career at M&S in Leeds on a training scheme in 1986, aged 16, and, since then, has managed 21 of the high street retailer’s stores. Most recently, Justine worked as a Regional Manager in the Midlands and, after taking on that challenge for 2 years, was excited to embrace the opportunity to move closer to home in West Yorkshire and lead the opening of one of the biggest M&S stores across the country to-date.
Justine Brook said:
“Leading the new Leeds White Rose store opening has been an amazing moment for me. M&S started in Leeds where the business was founded in 1884 on a stall in Kirkgate market. And Leeds is also where I got my start at M&S on a youth training scheme in 1986, so it feels like a full circle moment! I’ve had so many amazing experiences since then, but I have to say that opening day in Leeds was the proudest day of my career so far!”
In addition to her day-to-day role, Justine is also the Co-Chair for the M&S Gender Equality Network and advocates for improved work-life options. She firmly believes in being a role model for her team, and strongly supports the retailer’s Worklife policy, a flexible working offering which gives retail managers the option to choose to work a four-day compressed week or a nine-day compressed fortnight.
The industry-leading offering for Retail Managers is designed to help M&S colleagues achieve a better work/life balance, as well as helping M&S continue attracting great people who may not realise that these types of flexible options are available in a career in store management.
Justine Brook said
“I’m an active ally of the M&S Gender Equality Network and we believe that the Worklife options for a 4 day week or 9 day fortnight are a great step forward. I’m a strong believer in being a role model for my team, so I’m starting to move to a compressed working week, and actually my whole management team are opting to try it out too. I’ll be using the flexibility to compete with my horse which is one of my passions, but we’re all different and whatever you choose to do, it’s an opportunity to find the right work/life balance for you.”
Justine is part of a group of six women leading M&S’s five biggest new store openings in 2023, with each member of the formidable, all-female team running stores in three of the country’s most popular shopping centres – Leeds White Rose, Manchester’s Trafford Centre (Laura Smith), and the Lakeside Centre in Essex (Dior Hudson) – and in the key city centre sites of Birmingham Bullring (Emily King and Naomi Hartley) and Liverpool ONE shopping centre (Kirsty Williams).
The store managers have more than 115 years of retail experience between them and will lead a combined team of over 1,000 colleagues. The new appointees will take on leadership roles with responsibility for some of the retailer’s biggest and most prominent sites.
This post is based on a press release issued on behalf of Marks & Spencer
Main photo: Justine Brook
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