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Paula Nickolds

Former John Lewis MD Paula Nickolds will join Sainsbury’s as general merchandise and clothing commercial director next month.

Her appointment will also see her sit on the supermarket’s operating board.

She will be responsible for its £7.8bn general merchandise and clothing business, which includes Argos, Habitat and Tu clothing – all of which were critical in supporting the retailer’s food ambitions, it said.

Nickolds will be bringing a wealth of retail experience to her new role, including 25 years at the John Lewis Partnership.

She joined John Lewis as a graduate trainee and worked in product, buying, brand and commercial before becoming MD in 2017 until January last year.

“I am delighted that Paula is joining us,” said Sainsbury’s CEO Simon Roberts. “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 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.”

Nickolds takes over from Mike Luck, who has decided to pursue a career outside of Sainsbury’s, having joined the graduate scheme 18 years ago. He will be staying with the business until mid-July to ensure a smooth handover with Nickolds.

Roberts added: “I am 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 re-launched 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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