Sainsbury’s has hired the former boss of John Lewis to take charge of its clothing and homeware operations.

The supermarket giant said Paula Nickolds will take the role of general merchandise and clothing commercial director in June.

Paula Nickolds has joined Sainsbury’s (Greg Funnell/PA)

Ms Nickolds was ousted from department store chain John Lewis in January 2020 after 25 years, after she failed to improve the retailer’s profits.

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The role will see Ms Nickolds lead Sainsbury’s general merchandise, Argos, Habitat and Tu clothing operations, taking over from Mike Luck who will leave the company in the summer after a handover period.

She received an almost £1 million payout following her exit from John Lewis last year.

Ms Nickolds said: “I’m excited to be joining Sainsbury’s.

“It is a retailer with fantastic heritage that is trusted by customers for its great combination of quality and value.

“It’s an important and dynamic time for the retail sector and I am thrilled to join the team for the next phase of growth and innovation, as well as the opportunity to make a difference to millions of customers’ lives through the much-loved Argos, Habitat and Tu brands.”

Simon Roberts, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, said: “I am delighted that Paula is joining us, she is a highly respected, talented and experienced retail leader.

“I am certain that under her leadership, our brands that deliver – Argos, Habitat and Tu – will continue to delight our customers and support everything we are doing in food.

“Paula brings deep experience in product, brands and commercial leadership and she has a passion for understanding and delivering for customers.”