Former M&S merchandising head to return to the high street after Asos fiasco

Kate Bostock, former fashion head at Marks & Spencer, is returning to the high street next month as chief executive of privately-owned occasion wear retailer Coast, following an ill-fated and short-lived stint as executive director at online retailer Asos.

The retailer confirmed the news to City A.M. on Tuesday afternoon. Bostock's appointment to head up Coast could prompt speculation that the company is preparing for a sale or a float.

Coast is part of Aurora fashions, which owns brands like Oasis and Warehouse, and was spun off as a standalone company earlier this year. Aurora was bought out of bankruptcy in 2009 and is now majority owned by Icelandic bank Kaupthing. In 2011, it separated the Karen Millen brand as a seperate company.

In June, Coast appointed Aurora's non-executive director Pal Olafsson as its chief financial officer. It currently operates 370 stores and franchises across 26 countries.

Bostock joined her previous employer Asos as executive director of product and trading at the end of last year following an 18 month courtship. But in July, she quit unexpectedly after just seven months, with chief executive Nick Robertson saying it was a “mistake” to hire her.

Some had suggested that Bostock’s long experience in traditional retailers had not prepared her well for fast-moving online industries like Asos.

After the resignation announcement, Robertson said, “culturally we are very different and perhaps that played a part in the decision”.