After just six months, Kate Bostock has today resigned from Asos.
Bostock joined the young fashion etailer in January this year as executive director, product and trading, after months of speculation. As the former Marks & Spencer clothing supremo, some feared Asos was an unlikely fit for someone whose experience was in middle-aged women’s fashion.
But Asos chief executive Nick Robertson believed that Bostock could help the etailer improve margins through enhancing buying, particularly by increasing volumes, and ramping up the own-brand offer.
The move clearly did not work out, although Bostock and Asos appear to have parted on amicable terms. It is understood the difference between the young, entrepreneurial company that is Asos and the big corporate machines of Marks & Spencer or George at Asda that Bostock was used to was too great.
Verdict senior retail analyst Honor Westnedge said: “Asos was hoping to utilise Kate’s strong background in sourcing. However coming from much more traditional businesses these skills may not have been suitable for such a fast moving, dynamic retailer like Asos.
“While Asos requires expertise in clothing supply chain management, it needs someone that can think innovatively and creatively to suit the demands of such a fast paced business and it seems that despite her big name and prior experience, Kate did not match or complement the needs of Asos.”
Bostock, who was number 40 in the Retail Week Power List this year, was previously executive director, general merchandise, at Marks & Spencer, and had also held senior roles at George at Asda and Next.
In her time at Marks & Spencer, she drove a more fashion-led offer across the retailer’s labels as well as sharpening up sub-brands including Autograph, Limited and Blue Harbour.
Robertson said today that he and Bostock agreed that “Asos is not the right platform for her talent”.
But he points out that Asos “continues to fire on all cylinders” and indeed, the etailer reported retail sales surged 45% in its third quarter to May 31. UK turnover jumped 39% to £64.3m while international revenue rocketed 48% to £129.3m.