M&S lures new ‘knicker queen’ from rival Next

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MARKS & Spencer has lured Jo Jenkins from Next as director of lingerie and beauty, replacing “knicker queen” Janie Schaffer who quit after just three months in the job.

Jenkins will join the struggling general merchandise division, reporting directly to John Dixon, executive director.

She will be part of a team that includes Belinda Earl, formerly of Debenhams and Jaeger, who operates as style director, and will play a key role in helping reverse problems in the core women’s clothing range.

Jenkins has been responsible as Next’s womenswear product director for all buying, design and merchandising of a range of clothing and accessories.

She has 25 years’ experience, having started her career at M&S before joining Next in 1997.

During her time at Next, she worked in the sourcing and buying teams, before taking her current role in 2007.

Dixon said: “We are delighted to attract a talented retailer like Jo to our team. She brings with her a wealth of experience, with excellent product knowledge and great customer understanding.”

Schaffer was hired from Victoria’s Secret and her departure came as a shock to the company and the retail industry. She joined at the beginning of the year and was heralded by chief executive Marc Bolland as a key member of his “dream team”.

The most recent figures showed sales of non-food items fell by 3.8 per cent in the three months to 30 March.