Ex-John Lewis boss Paula Nickolds joins Sainsbury’s

Paula Nickolds, formerly managing director of John Lewis, is set to take on leadership of Sainsbury’s £7.8 billion general merchandise and clothing business.

Nickolds will start her role in June, and her remit will include Argos, household furnishings retailer Habitat, and Sainsbury’s clothing brand Tu clothing.

The retail executive takes over from Mike Luck, who had been at Sainsbury’s for 18 years, as general merchandise and clothing commercial director.

Nickolds worked at John Lewis for 25 years, working in product, buying, brand and commercial before becoming the firm’s first female managing director in January 2017 .

The news comes after Sainsbury’s announced proposals in March that would see the company cut 500 office roles in a bid to fund lower prices, online shopping, and product innovation.

The supermarket said the decision, which is still subject to consultation, is part of the supermarket’s plan to adapt the business to “put food first”.

Nickolds left John Lewis in January 2020, after the retailer announced bonuses would be just 3 per cent of annual pay – the lowest since 1953 – after profits fell 45.4 per cent year-on year to £160 million.

“I am delighted that Paula is joining us, she is a highly respected, talented and experienced retail leader,” said Simon Roberts chief executive at Sainsbury’s. “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.”

He added: “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.”

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