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M&S "knicker queen" quits after three months

Marks & Spencer director of lingerie and beauty Janie Schaffer has exited the retailer after just three months in the role.

According to Retail Week, Schaffer left the business last week after just a few months.

She joined M&S from lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret, where she was chief creative officer. She co-founded lingerie chain Knickerbox in 1986, leading some in the industry to dub her “the knicker queen”.

Schaffer replaced Frances Russell, who was promoted to director of womenswear in November last year after joining M&S from Arcadia four years ago.  

Her departure follows that of several other key members of the M&S team. Last week Drapers revealed that M&S’s head of buying for formal menswear Nick Keyte had left to join John Lewis. Per Una and Limited Collection boss Carole Boyes-Weston also left the retailer late last year.

Meanwhile former kidswear director Karl Doyle joined Shop Direct last month following the appointment of Stephanie Chen from House of Fraser to oversee the kidswear and home business, a move which also saw head of homeware Damian Guha redeployed to a strategy role.

It also comes amid reports of low staff morale throughout the business.

The swathe of changes in the retailer’s GM team follow the departure of executive director of general merchandise Kate Bostock, who left in September last year and has subsequently joined fashion etailer Asos. Former food boss John Dixon took on the GM role with former Jaeger chief executive Belinda Earl taking up the newly-created position of style director.

Last week Marks & Spencer reported like-for-likes in its general merchandise arm – comprising fashion and home - had declined 3.8% in its fourth quarter. However, overall like-for-likes edged up 0.6%, representing its best quarterly performance in two years.

Marks & Spencer confirmed Schaffer’s departure but declined to comment further.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Not surprised, as a lingerie brand owner I have seen their range get more and more confused over the years. The basics aren't correct and the pricing is all over the place. Maybe too big a job for an outsider to cope with. Its hard enough to get things done in M+S when you understand how the ship sails let alone from outside.

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