Very owner Shop Direct has poached Gap’s European buying boss for its first fashion boss as it restructures buying and merchandising.

Zoe Matthews, who has also worked at House of Fraser, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer, joins Shop Direct on July 15.

The creation of the role is the culmination of Shop Direct’s restructure of its senior clothing and footwear team. The new structure separates buying and merchandising and has created “more streamlined reporting”, according to the retailer.

Matthews’ remit will cover womenswear, menswear, sportswear, kidswear, footwear and accessories across all brands including Very and Littlewoods, and she will report into group product director Matt Dixon.

Shop Direct clothing and footwear trading director Pauline Lauder will now head up all of the merchandising teams in the new role of group merchandising director.

Dixon said: “Since being promoted to the role of group product director last November, I’ve spent time with the teams restructuring our clothing and footwear department in line with the market. This is an important step for us as we look to drive our fashion business forward and create clear career paths for our people.

“Zoe’s arrival cements that new structure and will ensure that we have a consistency of approach across our clothing and footwear categories. Her fashion credentials are second to none and we’re looking forward to working with her to strengthen our product agenda as we develop into a world-class digital retailer.”

Matthews said: “Shop Direct’s clothing and footwear business is in a great position, thanks to its experienced team, strong focus on stock and efficiency and deep understanding of its customer base. There’s a huge opportunity now to really develop and curate its product range, particularly in own brand fashion.”