Harrods has hired former Debenhams head of direct David Worby to take the helm at its online division.

Worby - who left Debenhams at the end of last year - will take up his role as director, Harrods Direct, on February 1. He left Debenhams at the end of 2009, a year in which it reported a 31% rise in sales to £55.1m at its online arm. During the year to August 29, visitors to Debenhams Direct rose 36.8%.

The Knightsbridge luxury department store has been steadily ramping up its online operation, introducing initiatives such as Harrods Launches - a platform that showcases new design talent each season. Harrods Launches, which debuted in November, allows the department store to test emerging labels before committing to floorspace for the brand.

Earlier this month, Debenhams appointed Simon Forster, formerly senior vice-president for merchandising and ecommerce at TK Maxx, to take up the role of divisional director for online, reporting to deputy chief executive Michael Sharp.

It is understood that Forster, who worked at TK Maxx for almost seven years, will be replaced by an internal candidate at TK Maxx.

Boots hires Holyland for e-commerce role

Separately, it is understood that health and beauty giant Alliance Boots has hired Chris Holyland, head of trading, computing and communications at DSGi’s online business, to be its head of ecommerce.

He will report to Tim Stacey, director of Boots.com.