Hobbs boss Nicky Dulieu is to step down from her position as chief executive after five years in the role, Retail Week can reveal.

It is understood that Dulieu will remain chief executive until the spring and will stay with the retailer after standing down from the position.

Hobbs chairman Phil Wrigley said: “Nicky has made a significant contribution to Hobbs over the past eight years across all areas of the business.

“I am delighted that she will be staying with us as a non-executive director so we can continue to benefit from her substantial insight into, and knowledge of, the Hobbs brand.” 

Dulieu joined the retailer as finance director in 2006 and was promoted to managing director and then chief executive in 2009.

She has led Hobbs since August 2008 and had previously worked for Marks & Spencer for more than 20 years, latterly as its food division’s finance director.

In her tenure as chief executive Dulieu helped revamp the retailer’s product offer to make it more attractive to a fashion-conscious professional woman. Most recently she has been leading the retailer’s international expansion ambitions. This has included revamping UK stores, starting with its Covent Garden flagship store in September, and plans to launch in China in this year. She also invested in the retailer’s multichannel operations.

Dulieu said: “I am passionate about the Hobbs brand and I look forward to working with Phil and the rest of the management team to continue the company’s development. In addition, stepping back to a non-executive director role will allow me to explore other roles and opportunities.”

Her departure comes after Hobbs’ private equity owner 3i wrote down the value of its investment by 40% due to “tough trading” over Christmas.

3i revealed its 47% stake in the premium fashion retailer had lost £14m since it was valued at £35m in September 2013. This figure had already dropped from £47m in March last year.

The retailer also appointed former New Look boss Wrigley as its new chairman last month, replacing Ian MacRitchie.