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BHS head of buying exits for M&Co

The head of buying for womenswear at troubled retailer BHS, Melanie Buckingham, has left the business and is understood to have taken up the same role at value chain M&Co.  

BHS owner Arcadia Group confirmed that Buckingham, who joined the struggling chain in December 2011, left in mid-February. Julie Smith, who previously worked at Monsoon and M&S has since taken over the role.

​Sources have told Drapers Buckingham will take over from current head of buying for womenswear at M&Co Michaela Clements, who has resigned to relocate to Dubai to join her husband.

Clements joined M&Co in September 2009 as senior knitwear buyer before being promoted to head of womenswear buying in 2011.

Buckingham was senior buyer at Marks & Spencer from October 2008 until December 2011. Prior to that she was senior buyer at Warehouse for eight years from January 2000.

Drapers also understands that M&Co’s buying director Lindsay Williams and merchandise director Andrew Austin have left the business.

Rumours have been circulating this week that Arcadia owner Sir Philip Green is closing in on a deal to offload BHS.

In January, Green, who bought BHS in 2000 for £200m, said he had received “several approaches” for the chain and would “explore whether any of these can be brought to a conclusion”.

BHS made cash losses of £21m in 2014, up on the £19.3m losses in 2013. During the same year the chain also had liabilities of £100m on its pension scheme.

M&Co declined to comment.

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