South African retail group Woolworths Holdings has appointed former Marks & Spencer chief executive and chairman Sir Stuart Rose as a non-executive director.

Sir Stuart, who left the position of M&S chief executive in July 2010, and quit the chairman’s post on 4 January, is appointed to the board with effect from yesterday (19 January).

The move follows Sir Stuart joining Bridgepoint Capital in September last year to advise the private equity company on retail investments.

Meanwhile, Woolworths said first-half group sales had risen 9.8% in the six months to 26 December, with comparable store sales up 5.6%.

Clothing sales in South Africa were 11.5% higher, up 9.2% in comparable terms, prompting the company to predict H1 earnings up 17-20%.