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M and M Direct axes women’s buyer role amid slower trading

Discount etailer M and M Direct has axed the role of womenswear buyer, blaming sluggish performance in the category.

Chief executive Steve Robinson told Drapers the buying team had been restructured, leading to the departure of womenswear buyerCharlotte Fox. Buying for womenswear will now be carried out by its head of kidswear, said Robinson, who added that womenswear was “not the fastest-growing area of the business”.

He said: “Women are trading down to non-branded items so we don’t need to invest as heavily in resource there.” Brands stocked by M and M Direct include Firetrap, Pineapple and Superdry.

A source close to the business claimed M and M Direct had no strategy for its womenswear business after autumn 11 and suggested it might be considering ditching it from its portfolio altogether, but Robinson denied this was the case.

He said: “We will continue to operate womenswear, as it accounts for about 25% of total sales.

M and M Direct reported sales increased 15% in the six weeks to January 2, despite the loss of £2.5m of sales due to the severe winter weather during the period.

Sales from M and M Direct’s online business accounted for almost 90% of sales, with mail order making up the remainder.

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