Kate Bostock’s appointment as executive director of product and trading at etail giant Asos has been met by industry sources and analysts as statement of intent by the retailer.
While Bostock’s move to Asos has been talked about for over a year, it wasn’t until today that the etailer confirmed her appointment and also the departure of product director Rob Bready from the business.
Analysts and industry insiders agreed that appointing a well-established name like Bostock gave the rapidly-expanding Asos a new level of authority.
Freddie George, analyst at Seymour Pierce, said: “She will definitely bring credibility to the business as she is certainly a big name in the industry.”
Independent analyst Nick Bubb noted her reputation “suffered a little at M&S”, referencing the mainstream retailer’s recent sales decline. But this would not overshadow her many years of success. “It is still a good reputation and she has a lot of experience running big departments at big retailers,” Bubb said.
A source close to the Asos business added: “The company has grown very quickly and the job ended up being too big for Rob’s [Bready] level of experience.
“Kate has enough experience and gravitas to take that role to the next level.”
However, given the clear differences between the Asos and M&S, some have questioned how she would fit in on the product side.
Espirito Santo analyst Sanjay Vidyarthi noted the “very different culture and customer demographic”, and although he predicted a positive reaction from the market he maintained his sell recommendation for the etailer.
Bostock is not expected to focus on buying given the size of Asos’ existing team, with insiders suggesting she would look after overall strategy, including supply chain.
Seymour Pierce analyst George believes that Bostock’s buying focus will be primarily on the own-label side.
“She has experience of building up an own label business from her time with George at Asda and she did a good job there,” he said.