Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Drapers Next Generation: I'd always wanted M&S job, says Kate Bostock

Coast chief executive Kate Bostock described being offered the top womenswear position at Marks & Spencer in 2004 as “the job I always wanted”.

Speaking at the Drapers Next Generation Academy on the same day that M&S unveiled a slight improvement in its fourth-quarter clothing sales, Bostock recalled working under then chief executive Sir Stuart Rose as a great time in her career. “It was a difficult decision to leave George at Asda, but M&S and that womenswear job…”, she told delegates, saying it was too good an opportunity to miss. “I then took on kidswear too, as it wasn’t performing well, but it’s an important sector as it drives a lot of footfall. I also took over lingerie and then Stuart said I might as well take on menswear so it’s neat and tidy.”

Bostock went on to become the first woman in full-time employment to join the M&S executive board.

When asked her opinion on what the high street will look like in 10 years, Bostock said that the shopping experience will become important once again. “We need a new concept of fun, of interaction,” she said. “We’re ready for new experiences to get us all excited again, so I think interesting things will come back into the frame around experience.”

But Bostock insisted that investment in multichannel retailing will continue to be a priority for Coast. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say we were focusing on online. We’re not going to open lots more shops. Girls still love shopping but they don’t carry as many shopping bags as they used to.”

Bostock told delegates that there are “lots more opportunities now to get into buying” compared with when she started out 37 years ago. “There’s a plethora of choice of retailers. Get experience during your holidays. Get your CV out there. Get networking.”

Kate Bostock’s favourite anecdotes from her time at M&S

“I met lots of celebrities and even got the opportunity to snog Ryan Reynolds [who has fronted previous M&S campaigns]. I met all of the royal family and the Queen is the most amazing person to meet. I remember taking Camilla [Parker-Bowles] around M&S in Westfield and I can’t tell you how difficult it was to get her up to Per Una when she saw the wine section…. Kate Middleton was quite keen to do a job in fashion, so she came in a few times.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • A wonderfull lady full of passion and relevance when it comes to the Clothing Industry.
    I am refering to Queen Bostock of course!!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Mark Daynes

    Having had the pleasure of working alongside Kate for many years at George, I agree that she is a true retailer full of passion and common sense, I would advise todays next generation to study Kates career and look at the drive, commitment and customer understanding she has. One of the best role models you could wish for.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.