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Retail

Paula Nickolds To Lead Sainsbury's Non-Food Business

British supermarket group Sainsbury's has recruited Paula Nickolds, the former boss of the John Lewis department store chain, to lead its near £8 billion ($11 billion) general merchandise and clothing business.

Sainsbury's said on Thursday that Nickolds would join as general merchandise and clothing commercial director next month, succeeding Mike Luck, who is leaving the group after 18 years.

Nickolds, who will be responsible for general merchandise in Sainsbury's stores as well as the Argos, Habitat and Tu clothing businesses, will also take a seat on Sainsbury's operating board, reporting to CEO Simon Roberts.

Together those operations represent about a quarter of Sainsbury's total group sales of £32.3 billion in its 2020-21 year.

Tu is Britain's fifth largest clothing business on a sales value basis, according to market researcher Kantar.

An Experienced Professional

Nickolds worked for John Lewis for 25 years, the latter three as managing director. She left in January last year after the department store chain endured a poor Christmas.

Commenting on her appointment, Sainsbury’s chief executive, Simon Roberts, said, "I am delighted that Paula [Nickolds] is joining us, she is a highly respected, talented and experienced retail leader. I am certain that under her leadership, our brands that deliver - Argos, Habitat and Tu - will continue to delight our customers and support everything we are doing in food.

"Paula [Nickolds] brings deep experience in product, brands and commercial leadership and she has a passion for understanding and delivering for customers. We are all looking forward to her joining our team."

Nickolds said that she was excited about joining Sainsbury’s and added, "It is a retailer with fantastic heritage that is trusted by customers for its great combination of quality and value. It’s an important and dynamic time for the retail sector and I am thrilled to join the team for the next phase of growth and innovation."

Last week Sainsbury's forecast a big rebound in underlying profit this year after a 39% fall in 2020-21 as strong food sales during the pandemic were outweighed by extra costs and a decision to forgo business rates relief.

News by Reuters, additional reporting by ESM. For more Retail stories, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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