Congratulations to Paula Nickolds, who was named managing director of John Lewis today.

Much has been made of the fact that her promotion makes her the first woman to run such a high-profile, high-status retailer. So it should be, and it is welcome for that reason alone.

The relative absence of women chief executives in an industry that so frequently relies upon female shoppers for custom is a frequent talking point – and one that prompted Retail Week’s Be Inspired campaign, for which Nickolds coincidentally is an ambassador.

By elevating Nickolds to the top job at the department store business, one of retail’s most venerable and pioneering names has once again shown itself to be a leader of the pack. Others will no doubt follow that example, and more women in retail’s boardrooms can be expected.

The most important point though is that Nickolds has won her new role not because she is a woman, but because she is a skilled retailer with the attributes to be an excellent managing director.

Quote of the day

“As a Partner with 22 years service, I know just how special the John Lewis Partnership is.”

Paula Nickolds, who will succeed Andy Street as managing director of John Lewis

Today in numbers

1.5% – total retail sales rise forecast for the fourth quarter by Verdict, down from 1.8% last year

2,656 – number of high street stores closed in first half of this year, according to PwC and local Data Company research

Tomorrow’s agenda

There are no formal updates scheduled tomorrow. Why not take a look at our gallery on the £1.4bn redevelopment of Brent Cross as it bids to outshine Westfield’s London malls?

George MacDonald, executive editor