UK retailer Marks & Spencer has poached two buying managers from rival fashion firm Next, as it continues to try and turnaround its struggling clothing business.

Paula Bonham-Carter, who currently serves as buying manager at Next, has been named head of buying for M&S women's wear, while Laura Charles has been appointed as head of buying for lingerie.

A spokesperson for M&S said: "We're delighted that Laura and Paula are joining us as head of buying, lingerie and head of buying, women's wear respectively and look forward to welcoming them both to the M&S team later this year."

Both start dates are yet to be confirmed, the spokesperson added.

The news comes after Gillian Ridley Whittle stepped down as M&S's development and buying director for women's wear in October last year. In addition, former head of buying for M&S Woman, Mary Wastnage, and Sara Bradley, who was head of buying for M&S's in-house brands, left the retailer last year.

M&S has been working to turnaround its clothing business around for some time. The retailer reported its tenth consecutive quarterly decline in general merchandise sales earlier this month, despite seeing what it described as early signs of improvement in its women's wear business.

Analysts have even raised a question mark over how successful its general merchandise strategy is, adding that the pace of change for clothing needs to go further and faster.