Arcadia has hired former House of Fraser and Mothercare executive Andy Harding as its interim digital director, Retail Week can reveal.

The move marks a return to the retail industry for Harding, whose most recent executive role was as boss of stock photography company Alamy. He left the business in August last year, after less than a year in the job.

Harding previously held senior roles at BHS, Carphone Warehouse and Ryman before joining House of Fraser as director of ecommerce in January 2011.

Harding succeeds Simon Pritchard, who was group digital director at the Topshop owner for almost 10 years.

Arcadia said: “After nine years, Simon Pritchard, group digital director for the Arcadia Group left the business early January 2019.

“Throughout his tenure, he led the group through a huge shift in the world of digital retailing and he also made a valuable contribution to the operating board.

“Simon drove significant change, from transforming the group’s websites to launching their mobile commerce channels and building out multichannel capabilities.”

Harding joins Arcadia at a challenging time for the group, after a number of allegations of bullying and harassment were made against owner Sir Philip Green last year.

The jewel in the Arcadia crown, Topshop, has also struggled to maintain sales amid a turbulent trading environment in mid-market fashion.