Kate Bostock to join M&S's online rival Asos

Kate Bostock is said to have had a strained relationship with M&S chief executive Marc Bolland. Photograph: Nick Harvey/WireImage
Marks & Spencer’s former fashion boss Kate Bostock is to join online rival Asos – days after leaving the struggling high street retailer. Her appointment to a senior executive role at the fast growing Asos is due to be confirmed on Wednesday.

Bostock was one of the most powerful women in UK retail at M&S, overseeing all departments except food.

She has been linked with Asos for months, and she will bring useful big business experience to the internet fashion site which has become a hugely popular destination for younger shoppers and prospered through the downturn.

Prior to joining M&S in 2004 Bostock was product director for Asda’s George label and before that ran the childrenswear division of Next.

Her departure from M&S was announced in July when the company unveiled one of its worst trading performances in the past decade, with quarterly sales of general merchandise – Bostock’s fashion and homewares departments – down nearly 7%. At the time the retailer’s chief executive Marc Bolland – with whom Bostock is said to have had a strained relationship – said he was “taking the necessary steps” to improve the performance of fashion and home.

Last year Bostock earned £944,000 at M&S – down on previous years when she had received controversial retention bonuses designed to keep her in the business.

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