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Boss of UK's John Lewis department store chain leaves business

People queue outside a John Lewis a store announcing a seasonal sale, in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Pippa Wicks, executive director of British department store chain John Lewis, has left the business, the John Lewis Partnership said on Monday.

The employee-owned John Lewis Partnership, of which John Lewis is a part, said the chain's current retail director Naomi Simcock will succeed Wicks with immediate effect and on an interim basis.

Wicks had held the role since August 2020.

The partnership gave no reason for Wicks' abrupt exit, though chairman Sharon White said in a statement she was grateful for her contribution, adding that she was instrumental in reinvigorating the brand.

The partnership is due to publish full year results next month. Last September it reported a first half loss.

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(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Alistair Bell)