Design quality is first task for new Viyella boss

Fashion retailer Viyella has appointed Christine Lucas as managing director to replace Nicky Elson, who left last month.

Viyella split from the Coats Viyella Group in March last year after it was bought by Harris Watson Investments.

The business has been struggling, with sales down 20 per cent in 2002 to£44 million. Retail Knowledge Bank director Robert Clark said the deteriorating market conditions impacted margins, but, with several standalone shops planned, some growth is expected this year.

Lucas's task is to boost customer service and improve design quality as the chain expands. There are 33 Viyella stores in the UK, with three openings in the past month.