Tesco has today bid farewell to another of its senior executives, after it was revealed Terry Price, commercial director of its non-food business, is leaving after 18 months in the role.

Price, a Tesco and Walmart veteran, returned from China to the UK to take up his latest position but general merchandise has been blamed for “dragging down” Tesco’s UK performance, in a year which saw its first fall in profit for nearly two decades.

Price was in charge of general merchandise in both the UK and Central Europe and Neela Mukherjee, UK general merchandise director, will now take control of online and offline general merchandise across the division.

It is understood Price was close to retirement, which helped prompt the move, but that it also reflects Tesco’s shift towards online in the sector.

CEO Philip Clarke, formerly a close ally of Price, today issued a warning that the company had to continue innovating to stave off competition from the massive shift to the web, which has particularly hit its non-food business.

He told the FT Innovate 2012 event: “Be it nations or companies, if you don’t innovate; if you cling to the old way of doing things in the forlorn hope that the pace of change will slow; if you dare not take risks for fear of failure - if you do these things, then decline is inevitable.”