Kate Bostock hightails it to ASOS

The ex-M&S clothing boss has confirmed her rumoured move to fashion retailer ASOS.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
This wasn’t exactly a shock appointment; Kate Bostock’s new job is probably one of the worst-kept secrets in fashion. However, now that her contractual period of silence has come to an end, M&S’s former director of merchandise has announced she is to join ASOS as executive director for product and trading from January 2013. She replaces Rob Bready, product director of the last seven years.

‘ASOS is a phenomenon and I'm in awe of the story,’ said Bostock in a statement today. ‘With its unique mix of own label and fashion forward brands delivered online and increasingly through mobile, the potential for ASOS globally is huge. I'm very excited to be joining at such a time of immense opportunity.’

It’s a pretty sweet move for Bostock, who left M&S following plummeting clothes sales. Her departure was announced by Marc Bolland back in July when he revealed that Debenhams chief Belinda Earl was being brought in as style director instead. Analysts believe that Bostock has been snapped up by ASOS to add some big business nous to the fast-growing online fashion brand, which now boasts more than five million active customers and annual sales of around £500m.

Bostock has had a glittering career in fashion retail, holding senior roles at George at Asda and Next before her M&S appointment. Hailed as one of the most influential women in British fashion – she’s one of MT’s 35 under 35 alumnae too – she is part of a wholesale shake-up of ASOS’s board. It hired former Amazon UK boss Brian McBride as its chairman only last week. Looks like ASOS is planning a big expansion and perhaps a shift to the mass market...

Replacing the long-standing Bready is a daring move by ASOS chief executive Nick Robertson (Robertson was one of MT's 'Top 100 Entrepreneurs' last year). Will Bostock’s take on British fashion connect with a new audience and retain ASOS’s die-hard band of fashionistas? If it does, Bolland will kick himself for losing her to his online rival…

Inspired by Kate Bostock? To meet more inspirational women in business, book your place at MT’s inaugural Inspiring Women event.

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