John Dixon, the head of Marks and Spencer’s food business, has been moved to lead its general merchandise arm in a management reshuffle sparked by the departure of non-food boss Kate Bostock.

Dixon, who will take his new role on 1 October, will be replaced as executive director for M&S’s food division by retail director Steve Rowe.

The change was prompted by the exit of M&S executive director for GM Kate Bostock “by mutual consent”. There has been speculation about Bostock’s future since chief executive Marc Bolland joined M&S two years ago. Bostock was seen as a potential successor for previous boss Sir Stuart Rose.

Bostock’s departure was announced as M&S reported falling first-quarter sales on the back of a weak performance in clothing.

Like-for-like food sales increased 0.6% in the 13 weeks to 30 June. Bolland said M&S’s food division had “again performed strongly”.

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