Boux Avenue, the specialist lingerie retailer owned by tycoon Theo Paphitis, has completed its senior management team with a hire from category market leader Marks & Spencer.

Rachel Harley joins Boux Avenue this week as merchandising director. She was formerly head of merchandising for M&S’ lingerie group, where she led a team of 50.

Boux Avenue said in addition to her experience in lingerie and fashion, she brings “in-depth knowledge of the planning, buying and trading complexities associated with multichannel retailing”.

Rachel Harley

Rachel Harley: ‘There are huge opportunities for Boux Avenue’

She joins a recently leadership team comprising Michael Kerr, Boux Avenue’s first chief executive, who himself joined Boux last autumn after a career at M&S; and brand and product director Zoe Price-Smith who arrived from European lingerie giant Hunkemöller at the start of this year.

Paphitis said: “Rachel completes the new-look Boux Avenue management team and with her expertise will ensure that the brand is driven forward and reaches the next level through fresh ideas, products and energy.”

Kerr said: “Rachel’s complete knowledge of the UK lingerie marketplace will be an asset to the brand. These skills combined with Rachel’s strength of leadership will ensure she will be able to add significant value to Boux Avenue from day one.”

Harley said: “The lingerie marketplace is exciting and there are huge opportunities for Boux Avenue. I can’t wait to get started.”

She joins after a tough peak trading period for Boux Avenue. Its like-for-like sales slipped 2.8% in the run-up to Christmas, which Paphitis attributed to sluggish footfall at “key regional shopping centres” and supply chain issues.