Karen Millen has hired its first global retail chief as it aims to increase sales from international flagship stores.

Former Long Tall Sally chief executive Sian Hession joins the retailer, which was spun out of Aurora last year, as global retail operations director.

She will spearhead a project managing 40 of Karen Millen’s stores including Regent Street in London, New York, LA and Moscow, along with the brand’s website, in a bid to increase sales from these ‘showcase’ shops.

Hession’s project will last for at least six months. It aims to establish best practice across Karen Millen in disciplines such as visual merchandising and online engagement.

Lessons learned will be extended to other stores as the premium retailer further expands its overseas business. Nearly two thirds of Karen Millen sales come from overseas at present.

Karen Millen was hived off from Aurora last year to facilitate its global expansion. The womenswear retailer aims to double sales to £500m in the next five years, driven by international expansion.

Hession has more than 25 years’ retail experience and was formerly retail director of Coast, owned by Aurora.

She has been working as a retail consultant for the past four years, most recently helping The Disney Store expand its international business in areas including the Middle East and Russia.

She will report into Karen Millen managing director Gemma Metheringham.