The Very Group has appointed former Fenwick chief executive Robbie Feather as its retail managing director, Retail Week can reveal.

Feather will report directly to chief executive Henry Birch and join Very’s executive board. He succeeds Sam Perkins who is stepping down from the etailer at the end of the year.

Robbie Feather Very Group

Robbie Feather will join The Very Group in November

Feather has been out of retail since abruptly leaving Fenwick alongside its former chair Richard Pennycook in April 2020.

He had been drafted into the department store chain in 2018 to modernise the business, launching its digital strategy and taking the retailer online for the first time. Feather was also involved in centralising several of Fenwick’s internal functions, which were previously carried out at each of the company’s nine stores.

Prior to joining Fenwick, Feather held a number of roles at Sainsbury’s Argos, including digital director, general merchandise director and commercial director. As commercial director, Feather was on the board of Argos, overseeing the digital transformation of the company, while leading the commercial team.  

Feather has further significant retail experience having also worked at Asda and John Lewis, and he co-founded the furniture brand Feather & Black in 1999.

Birch said: “We are delighted to have attracted someone of Robbie’s calibre to join our executive board. An experienced business leader, Robbie brings substantial expertise in retail and a strong digital and commercial track record. He is the perfect person to lead our retail team into the post-pandemic era and we look forward to him joining us in November.”

Perkins will depart following seven years at Very. He led the introduction of a category management model, dynamic pricing and integrated customer communications during his time at the company, which now has annual sales of over £2bn.

Birch added: “Our business is almost unrecognisable from the one that Sam joined in 2014 and his contribution to our transformation and growth has been huge. We will be sad to see him go but he will leave us in great shape, with a brilliant retail team in place and a strong, clear plan to continue to delight our customers and grow the business over the years ahead. We wish him well in his new endeavours.” 

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