Primark poaches Matalan director

The discount fashion retailer Primark has poached a director from rival Matalan to the strategically important role of chief operating officer.

The Associated British Foods-owned retailer confirmed the appointment of John Lyttle, who is Matalan's buying director, last night.

Mr Lyttle will have "full responsibility for all aspects of buying and sourcing across both the UK and international buying operations," said a Primark spokeswoman. Primark – which has shops in the UK, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Ireland, where it trades as Penneys – posted a 15 per cent rise in sales for the 16 weeks to 19 June.

The firm's spokeswoman said: "This appointment reiterates Primark's commitment to invest in order to ensure the continued success of the Penneys and Primark brands and to support future expansion plans."