John Lewis has appointed the co-founder of furniture retailer Feather & Black to be director of buying for electricals and home technology, in the latest change to its senior team.
Robbie Feather, who is understood to be joining John Lewis at the end of July, replaces Tom Athron, who will become finance director at Waitrose. The move follows Richard Mayfield’s promotion from this position to John Lewis Partnership director of partnership services.
Feather, who before Feather & Black was a category manager at Asda, will take on a key role at John Lewis, which is highly regarded for its electricals and home technology offer. In the week to May 23, John Lewis had its strongest week of the year, with sales up 2 per cent. Its electricals and home technology category outperformed its other division, with sales increasing 7.1 per cent.
In a sign of the confidence John Lewis has in its home categories, last month it announced it will launch a new store format – John Lewis at Home – devoted to furniture, homewares and electricals. It is investing £6m in the format in order to open 30 stores in the UK. However, the retailer said that Feather’s appointment is not directly related to the new store format.
Feather’s appointment at the department store chain follows recent departures including director of selling operations Dan Knowles, who leaves the department store chain at the end of July, as well as marketing director Gill Barr, who was made redundant in April.
Buying director for home Maureen Dunn left in March.
Feather & Black’s other founder Adam Black, who will remain as managing director and lead the beds specialist on his own, said he is looking forward to new opportunities at the mid- to high-end
“It’s good news for him, and change provides the opportunity for things to be done differently at Feather & Black,” said Black. “It’s also an opportunity for people in this business to step up.”
He added: “Feather & Black is trading well. It’s business as usual.”