Sainsbury’s Argos executives Mark Steel and Gary Kibble are both leaving the business, Retail Week can reveal.
Steel has been at Argos since joining the business as a part-time worker in 1996 when he was still a student at Aston University.
He progressed to become an area manager, buyer and then trading manager, before taking on the role of head of product marketing in 2012.
Steel was digital operations director when Argos was acquired by Sainsbury’s in 2016. He was named digital director for Sainsbury’s Argos the following year.
Sainsbury’s plans to hire a new director of digital product in due course, who will report to the group’s chief digital officer Clodagh Moriarty.
Kibble joined Sainsbury’s Argos from Mothercare in June 2017. Since then, he has held responsibility for consumer brand strategy and delivery, own brand, product and brand marketing across the two retailers’ non-food operations.
Following Kibble’s departure, Mark Given will take on the newly created role of chief marketing officer for the Sainsbury’s group.
In addition to the two senior departures, the supermarket giant is also streamlining its commercial operations teams at its head office in Holborn in a bid to drive further efficiencies. A source close to the situation suggested that the number of employees impacted by the changes is “in the tens”.
In a statement circulated to staff this afternoon, Sainsbury’s also revealed plans to relocate its Nectar team to Holborn. It comes almost 18 months since the supermarket giant shelled out £60m to buy Nectar from Aimia.
A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said: “We acquired Argos almost three years ago and delivered the synergies from integrating the two businesses a year ahead of schedule.
“We had always planned to integrate the businesses more fully over time so that we can provide a seamless customer offer across Sainsbury’s and Argos, in stores and online, and this is the natural next step as we bring the businesses and brands closer together.”
Sainsbury’s is under increasing pressure to breathe fresh life into its top-line sales following the collapse of its proposed £13bn merger with grocery rival Asda.
The retailer suffered a 41.6% slump in pre-tax profit to £239m in the year to March 9, as group sales inched up to £26.9bn.
But like-for-likes dropped 1.6% in the first quarter of its current financial year in what it described as a “tough market”.
Sainsbury’s slashed prices on more than 1,000 own-brand products last month as it battles to get sales moving back in the right direction.