// Former John Lewis boss Paula Nickolds to join Sainsbury’s as general merchandise and clothing commercial director
// She will be responsible for Argos, Habitat & Tu
// Paula Nickolds will replace Mike Luck, who is leaving Sainsbury’s after 18 years
Sainsbury’s has hired former John Lewis managing director Paula Nickolds to head up the Big 4 retailer’s general merchandise and clothing division.
In her new role as Sainsbury’s general merchandise and clothing commercial director, Nickolds will be responsible for the commercial success of the £7.8 billion division, which includes the Argos and Habitat fascias as well as the own-brand Tu fashion label.
Nickolds will join Sainsbury’s in June, and will also have seat on the retailer’s operating board.
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She will takes over from Mike Luck, who has decided to pursue a career outside of Sainsbury’s, having joined the graduate scheme 18 years ago.
During his tenure as general merchandise and clothing commercial director, Luck successfully re-launched Habitat and developed a plan for the next phase of growth, delivered a lower cost base across Sainsbury’s global commercial team, and significantly grew sales in Argos.
He will remain with Sainsbury’s until mid-July to ensure a smooth handover with Nickolds.
Nickolds herself worked at the John Lewis Partnership for 25 years, starting off as a graduate trainee before working in product, buying, brand and commercial.
She was appointed managing director of the partnership’s eponymous department store chain in 2017 and exited the business in January last year.
“I am delighted that Paula is joining us, she is a highly respected, talented and experienced retail leader,” Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts said.
“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 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: “I’m excited to be joining Sainsbury’s. 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, as well as the opportunity to make a difference to millions of customers’ lives through the much-loved Argos, Habitat and Tu brands.”