The Foschini Group London is reshuffling its management team as Hobbs chief executive Meg Lustman exits.
Lustman will leave the group in January and will be replaced by Whistles boss Justin Hampshire. Hampshire will, in turn, be replaced by Helen Williamson. Lustman, who wishes to explore non-executive opportunities, leaves with “utmost gratitude and best wishes”.
Hampshire has run Whistles for the past two years while Williamson is its current brand director.
The group has also recruited Simon Pickering as managing director of Phase Eight, currently run by TFG London boss Ben Barnett. Pickering was most recently at House of Fraser as fashion buying and merchandising director and previously held positions at Reiss, Fat Face and Arcadia.
The appointments come as the group reports a “robust” set of first-half figures for the six months to September 30, 2018.
Like-for-like sales grew 2.3% although EBITDA dropped slightly, going from £14.8m to £13.7m. Excluding a £2.5m write-off for House of Fraser – when the business, like many suppliers to the department store chain, lost money after HoF was sold in a pre-pack deal to Mike Ashley – EBITDA rose to £16.2m.
The group has focused on integration over the past 18 months, investing in shared platforms to enable it to “profitably accelerate” its growth in the UK and internationally.
TFG chief executive Anthony Thunstrom said: “Since the acquisition of Phase Eight in 2015, we have invested in building strong foundations for long-term growth and are pleased to see the results of this in our first-half figures. As such, despite the well-documented challenges to the UK market, we look forward to the future with optimism.”