Sainsbury’s has appointed former Matalan and Miss Etam buyer Geraldine Higgins to be its new head of buying for womenswear.

Higgins was formerly group sourcing and product innovation director at Netherlands based Etam Group. She was also previously buying and merchandising director at Miss Etam, buying controller at Matalan and senior knitwear buyer at Bhs.

Higgins will fill part of the role left by Sara Bradley, who resigned in December last year for a role at rival Asda, but it emerged at the weekend that she will now join Marks & Spencer instead.

Sainsbury’s managing director for non-food Luke Jensen said: “Geraldine is a fantastic appointment for Sainsbury’s and brings with her a wealth of experience from working for a number of Europe’s top retailers. I am sure she will be a real asset to the team and I look forward to working closely with her as we continue to grow Tu Clothing building on our great success to-date.”

It is not yet known when she will start at the grocer.

Higgins said: “I am incredibly excited to be joining Sainsbury’s as head of buying for womenswear and look forward to contributing together with the team in Coventry to the ambitious non food growth targets. Sainsbury’s has a fantastic heritage, people values and is customer centric, which are crucial building blocks to delivering continuous growth.”

Non-food has become an increasingly important area for Sainsbury’s as it tries to catch up with rivals Asda and Tesco. At its interims late last year, Sainsbury’s said non-food had been growing at three times the rate of food sales. It is now the UK’s 10th largest clothing retailer.