The number of retail chief executive appointments fell in 2013, signalling a less volatile retail market.

The CT Partners UK Retail CEO Tracker recorded 50 new chief executive appointments last year compared to 56 the previous year.

The tracker analyses 200 UK based retailers. It found that the majority of chief executive changes last year were in fashion, luxury and apparel retailers, making up 56% of the sample size.

CT Partners head of UK retail and consumer practice Sarah Lim said: “The period 2010 to 2013 saw significant challenges for many brands or retailers which had either historically been poorly managed or didn’t have enough of a differentiated proposition to succeed in an environment of lower consumer spending and increased competition.

“Hence, many chief executives were changed over that period, as well as the fact that a number of brands changed hands or have new private equity owners. We’ve seen a slow-down of this in 2013 – a more stable market.”

Additionally, 18% of all chief executive appointments made last year were women. Nine chief executive roles went to women, up from three in 2012. The appointments included Coast’s Kate Bostock, Wendy Becker at Jack Wills and Angela Spindler at N Brown.

Lim said: “There has been growing pressure to bring more women through into leadership roles over the past three to four years. Boards, particularly publicly quoted ones, have been leading this from a non-executive standpoint with the addition of new board seats for additional female non-execs, and/or when non-execs come to the end of their term, seeking to replace with women to address the balance.”

The number of chief executives promoted internally increased to 26% of the total against 7% in 2012, while 74% of all chief executive hires were external candidates.

And despite the number of top changes already in 2014, including the departure of Sainsbury’s boss Justin King scheduled for July, former Mothercare boss Simon Calver standing down to be replaced in the interim by Mark Newton-Jones last month and Co-operative chief executive Euan Sutherland standing down Lim believes the sector is “fast returning to a more normal market”.