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Marks & Spencer womenswear director departs

Marks & Spencer has lost another long-serving member of its team, as Australian retailer Target scoops up another Brit for its team.

Gillian Ridley Whittle, development and buying director for womenswear, is leaving for a role at Australian department store chain Target.

Ridley Whittle has been at M&S for almost 10 years. She started in March 2004 as head of buying for lingerie and beauty, but moved over to womenswear in May this year.

Prior to joining the chain she spent four years at Debenhams as head of buying.

Ridley Whittle is the latest in a string of appointments at Target. TK Maxx’s e-commerce director for the UK Phil Wade left the company to join the Australian retailer earlier this month. Tesco clothing boss Richard Jones recently joined the company as merchandise trading director and Damian Walton also joined the business as general manager of homewares, leaving Shop Direct where he was buying and merchandising director.

While Target has been bolstering its team there has been a number of departures from M&S over the last year.

In April director of lingerie and beauty Janie Schaffer exited after just three months in the role. Drapers also revealed that M&S’s head of buying for formal menswear Nick Keyte left to join John Lewis in April. Per Una and Limited Collection boss Carole Boyes-Weston too left the retailer late last year.

M&S reported a 1.6% fall in like-for-like general merchandise sales in the 13 weeks to June 29.

Earlier this month analysts at Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse reduced their forecasts for clothing sales in the three months to the end of September.

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