Marks & Spencer womenswear buyer departs

Monday, 21 October 2013
High street retailer Marks & Spencer has lost another womenswear executive, as Gillian Ridley Whittle, development and buying director for womenswear, confirms departure.

Ridley Whittle, who has been with the retailer for almost 10 years, is leaving to join Australian department store group Target. She started in 2004 as head of buying for lingerie and beauty, and was promoted to her current role in womenswear earlier this year.

In April this year, Marks & Spencer’s lost their director of lingerie and beauty, Janie Schaffer, who left the company only three months after taking on the position. Following her departure was the exit  of Cathy Haydon, head of merchandising, who left Marks & Spencer in September.

The news will heap more pressure on the chain as investors brace for the retailer’s first-half results on November 5, as investors prepare for the ninth successive quarter of declining general merchandise sales. Analysts at Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse have even lowered the forecasts for general  merchandise sales for the last three months to the end of September, anticipating a 2 percent drop during its second quarter. Recently, analysts at Bernstein demoted Marks & Spencer’s stock to ‘under perform,’ as the shares fall has been cut back this year’s profit to 22 percent. 

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