New Look has hired Nick Cross, the marketer who led the rebranding of Selfridges in the late 1990s, to the newly created role of marketing director.
Cross, who worked at Selfridges as marketing director between 1996 and 2001 during its renaissance under then chief executive Vittorio Radice, will join the executive board of the fast-fashion chain in January. He is currently a partner at consultancy The Foundation, which has worked with New Look for the past three months.
New Look chief executive Carl McPhail, who worked with Cross during his time at Selfridges when he was retail operations director, said he hopes Cross will give New Look a “strong voice” and communicate “the elements around the brand to ensure people understand its size and scale”.
Cross’s appointment comes after the exit of chief operating officer Lex Gemas in July, who had responsibility for marketing, which followed the postponement of the group’s IPO earlier in the year. Group managing director Will Kernan took up Gemas’s position.
McPhail added: “This is signalling an intent to take New Look and push it more aggressively… As a business our marketing has been focused on trading the business and not building brand awareness.”
He said New Look would attempt to tap into those customers who use social networking and were inspired by celebrity and catwalk trends.
New Look last week reported UK like-for-likes down 4.5% against strong comparatives and group profit fell 5% to £73.5m in the six months to September 25. Adjusted EBITDA inched up from £117.8m to £119.5m and pre-tax profits rose from £22.8m to £24.2m.
McPhail said New Look suffered some disruption by moving its buying, merchandising and design teams to central London last year, which affected UK like-for-likes.
He said the decline was partially offset by “continued strong progress” in its ecommerce and international businesses.
He did not rule out another attempt at an IPO but said it was not in the retailer’s current plans.
He also said New Look had appointed Ernst & Young to carry out an independent review of its supply chain after a Channel 4 investigation revealed poor working conditions at a Leicester factory used by a subcontractor.