House of Fraser has appointed the Ministry of Justice’s former head of digital Mark Madden to bolster its multichannel proposition.

Madden, who will report into chief customer officer Andy Harding, joined the department store group this week as director of digital products, a newly-created role. Head of multichannel business development Sarah Baillie will now report into Madden. She previously reported to Harding.

At the Ministry of Justice he held the role of digital service director. He has also worked on a contract basis at TalkTalk, Boots, British Gas and Sky.

Madden is the second government digital director to move into the retail arena in recent weeks, after the Co-op hired government chief data officer and executive director of digital Mike Bracken as chief digital officer.

The appointment comes as House of Fraser, which was last year acquired by Chinese firm Sanpower, continues to focus on boosting its multichannel offer.

Earlier this year, the department store group said it would “significantly increase” its investment in multichannel on the back of strong performance from its online arm.

Online sales

In its full-year results to the end of January, it said online sales surged 32% over the period, and accounted for 15.4% of sales. House of Fraser said that for the first time its ecommerce operation became the most profitable store in the group last year. It has been the retailer’s largest store by sales for three years.

House of Fraser kicked off a “pioneering” restructure last month as part of a wider strategy to “future-proof” its organisational structure and stay ahead of the competition as customer shopping habits change.

As part of the restructure, House of Fraser placed its ‘customer insight’ team at the heart of the business, bringing together its brand, CRM, product and multichannel functions for the first time. Heads of those departments now report into Harding.