Nickolds to make retail return to run Argos and Habitat

Paula Nickolds, former John Lewis md, is to take charge of Argos and Habitat in the summer.

She will become Sainsbury’s general merchandise and clothing commercial director in June, in charge of the two retailers and the Tu clothing brand. The three have combined sales of £7.8bn.

Nickolds, a former John Lewis head of home, became the chain’s first woman md in 2017 but left in February 2020 after a profits warning. Since then chain has announced large scale store closures and attempts to find new revenue streams.

She had worked for John Lewis for a quarter of a century, having joined as a graduate trainee. When she left she received a £939,773 pay-out.

Since leaving John Lewis she has been an ambassador for the charity Smart Works and a senior advisor at McKinsey.

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

‘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,’ says Nickolds.

Paula Nickolds at John Lewis

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