Battling retailer, Marks & Spencer, has appointed a head of womenswear who is due to join the company at the beginning of July.

Steve Longdon, 49, has been appointed to the position of business unit director for womenswear in a bid to boost flagging sales in this area.

He will report to managing director of UK Retail, Roger Holmes, and will be responsible for strategy, direction, driving sales and the profitability of the company's womenswear business.

An experienced fashion retailer, Steve worked for twelve years for the Arcadia Group where he was director of buying and merchandising for Top Man and Burton Menswear and was appointed managing director, Top Shop and Top Man in 1991.

He joins M&S from BAA plc where his roles included chief executive, World Duty Free. Steve began his retail career in 1973 at M&S, working for seven years as a merchandiser and merchandise manager in childrenswear and menswear.

Managing director of UK Retail, Roger Holmes said: "I'm delighted to have Steve on board and I'm confident that his successful track record in fashion retailing coupled with enormous enthusiasm for the Marks & Spencer brand will be a winning combination.

"Steve's strong commercial ability and focus and his drive to achieve results will be key in turning around womenswear at Marks & Spencer."

By Deborah Bowyer