Former Marks & Spencer fashion boss Kate Bostock is to join occasionwear retailer Coast as chief executive as the retailer aims to widen its appeal.
The appointment comes weeks after Bostock exited fashion etail giant Asos after just six months.
Coast chairman Derek Lovelock told Retail Week Bostock would bring “experience, vision and energy” to Coast, which is seeking to broaden its appeal beyond outfits for formal occasions.
He said: “Coast has the ability to broaden its range and appeal. If anything, in people’s minds, Coast is focused on formal. But in this marketplace people are looking for more versatile product.”
Lovelock said Coast’s range would be broadened, while remaining “beautiful and contemporary”. He said he wanted people to shop at Coast “whenever there’s any reason to dress up specially” from proms to “going out for a meal or drinks”.
He added: “We want to offer something that appeals to everybody’s taste.”
Bostock joins Coast just a month after she left her role as executive director of product and trading at Asos.
Lovelock said: “We’re delighted. Inevitably Kate and I have known each other for years. When I knew I was going to need a new CEO I took the opportunity to ask her. She has a great affinity for the product, which is quite unique. She sees the potential for the brand. Her experience in meeting customers’ demands and in product development, allied with her expertise at leading teams and implementing strategic plans will be invaluable to Coast.”
Bostock said: “I am really thrilled to be joining the business. It is a great fit for my skills and expertise. I am really excited about taking the brand forward.”
The appointment of Bostock will raise speculation that Coast will seek to either float or sell itself in the near future. However Lovelock insisted there would be no IPO “in the immediate future” and added that there was “absolutely no process in place” to achieve a sale of the brand.
Bostock takes up the role next month and will be “working closely” with Lovelock as Coast “continues its development as an international omni-channel stand-alone brand”. Coast operates 370 stores in 26 countries.
She replaces Margaret McDonald who left to lead Victoria’s Secret’s clothing division in the US.
Bostock joins the retailer months after its former parent Aurora revealed it was to demerge its brands. Coast became a standalone business, with Oasis and Warehouse coming together under new parent company Fresh Channel. Aurora spun off Karen Millen in 2011.