May 6, 2021
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Paula Nickolds joins Sainsbury's in charge of fashion and GM

May 6, 2021

UK supermarkets giant Sainsbury’s has announced that former John Lewis MD Paula Nickolds is to join the business in June as General Merchandise and Clothing Commercial Director and become a member of its operating board.

Paula Nickolds is joining Sainsbury's to run its fashion ops

Her new role will see her in charge of the firm’s £7.8 billion GM and fashion operations that include Sainsbury’s own-brand GM, plus Argos, Habitat and the expanding Tu clothing label, all of which it said “are critical to support the retailer’s ambitions in food”.

It’s a big role following her John Lewis exit. She’d been at the employee-owned department store chain for 25 years having worked in product, buying, brand and commercial before becoming Managing Director in 2017 until January last year. 

Sainsbury’s — which is a stock exchange-listed business — is a very different company, but its ambitions in GM and fashion have grown since it bought Argos and launched the Tu line that’s now one of the biggest players in the UK clothing sector.

CEO Simon Roberts said: “I am delighted that Paula is joining us, she is a highly respected, talented and experienced retail leader. I am certain that under her leadership, our brands that deliver will continue to delight our customers and support everything we are doing in food. Paula 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.”

She takes over from Mike Luck who “has decided that now is the time to pursue a career outside of Sainsbury’s, having joined the Graduate scheme 18 years ago”. He’ll be staying with the business until mid-July to ensure a smooth handover.

Roberts said he was “really grateful to Mike for leading General Merchandise and Clothing at such a crucial time for the business as we were planning and launching our new strategy. In that time Mike and his team have successfully relaunched Habitat and developed the plan for our next phase of growth, changed our ways of working to deliver a lower cost base across our global commercial team and significantly grown sales in Argos. I would also like to thank him for everything he has achieved over the past 18 years.”

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