High street retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) has seen two of its senior Womenswear Buyers leave the business as it seeks to overhaul its ranges in the category, it is understood.
Head of Buying for in-house brands Sara Bradley has stepped down from her role while Head of Buying for M&S Woman Mary Wastnage is to exit in the Autumn, the Financial Times (FT) reported.
Bradley joined the retailer in 2011 from grocer Sainsbury’s, after favouring a move to M&S over George at Asda, who had previously announced her as its new Head of Buying for Menswear and Childrenswear.
Bradley had been described by an M&S spokesperson at the time of her appointment as “one of the best in the business” and worked to modernise the retailer’s identity as chief Marc Bolland sought to improve the reputation of its in-house brands.
Now however, the business is to dump its M&S Man and M&S Woman ranges, with the former set to be removed from stores by the end of the year while the latter will disappear by September, the newspaper said.
Replacing these labels is a key part of the retailer’s strategy and its core clothing ranges, including Limited, will now be grouped together under M&S Collections, which will have its own advertising push as it seeks to rejuvenate its offering.
Last month, M&S lost ‘Knicker Queen’ Janie Schaffer after just three months, after she left the retailer amid disappointment that her role did not allow for greater control.
Bolland has pledged to improve M&S’ General Merchandise proposition but continues to feel pressure as the retailer struggles in a difficult climate.
Commenting on the latest departures, an M&S spokesman told the FT: “Mary Wastnage has decided to leave the business in the Autumn to pursue other interests outside of M&S.
“Mary is going to stay on as a Head of Buying until a replacement has been found. Sara Bradley has decided to leave M&S to pursue other opportunities.
“We would like to thank Sara for her contribution and wish her well for the future.”