UK clothing retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) has poached Sara Bradley, a former Sainsbury's clothing director, just as she was on the verge of moving to a post at rival supermarket Asda's George clothing unit.

A spokesperson for M&S confirmed to just-style it had offered Bradley the role of head of buying for M&S Brands. "We are delighted that Sara is now joining us," he added.

Sainsbury's had reported in December last year that Bradley was to leave the company, along with director of general merchandise Adrian Mountford.

She was due to start as head of buying for children's wear and men's wear at George as of April, but is now likely to join M&S in early May.

A spokesperson for Asda said: "We respect the difficult decision Sara has made and wish her every success in her new role."

It is the latest in a string of high-profile appointments by new chief executive Marc Bolland. Earlier this month M&S hired e-commerce guru Laura Wade-Gery, who leaves rival Tesco after spearheading its online growth in recent years.

Wade-Gery had also been lined up to become Tesco's commercial director for Tesco’s UK clothing, electricals and general merchandise.