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Next buying duo jump ship to M&S

Marks & Spencer has poached two long-serving members of staff from its closest rival Next.

Buying manager Paula Bonham-Carter, who has been at Next for nearly 10 years, is being brought on as head of buying for womenswear, reporting into womenswear director Frances Russell.

Laura Charles, whose tenure at Next lasted more than 15 years, will join as head of buying for lingerie. She will report into lingerie director Jo Jenkins, who joined from Next last year.

A spokeswoman for M&S said the roles had resurfaced as a result of reverting to an old structure.

She added: “We’re delighted that Laura and Paula are joining us as head of buying, lingerie and head of womenswear, buying respectively and look forward to welcoming them both to the M&S team later this year.”

The move comes just weeks after chief executive Marc Bolland praised Next for its Christmas performance, telling analysts it was  “doing a better job” of selling clothes.

Next is now expected to outperform M&S for the first time, after increasing its guidance for pre-tax profits the year to January 25 to between £684m and £700m.

Analysts forecast M&S’s annual profits would reach £630m for its current financial year, after reporting muted third-quarter growth earlier this month.

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