Retail’s revolving doors were sent into a spin again today with a sudden departure closely followed by a shock arrival.

It was the latter that set most tongues wagging – House of Fraser’s surprise appointment of Goodwood Group boss Alex Williamson as its new chief executive.

With no background in retail, it is Williamson’s nous when it comes to creating lifestyle-led experiences at the sporting estate that the department store group will be hoping to harness.

Department store chains have long spoken about the need to create experiences – evidenced most recently in Debenhams boss Sergio Bucher’s transformation plan – and Williamson will be under pressure to deliver exactly that.

But following something of a brain drain following the departures of Williamson’s predecessor Nigel Oddy, ex-chief customer officer Andy Harding and former director of customer insight Madeline Melson, does House of Fraser have enough retail know-how left at the top to deliver its new five-year strategy?

As HoF hails Williamson’s arrival, Mothercare mourns the exit of finance boss Richard Smothers, although he remains in his role until a successor is identified.

After reshaping its leadership team twice in the past three years, Mothercare investors will be hoping this isn’t the beginning of another senior management overhaul.

Quote of the day

“We are not the only organisation to highlight that we [department store chains] need to change. But we appear, at the moment, to be the only retailer to have put a head on the business who has come from that background.”

– House of Fraser executive chairman Frank Slevin on the appointment of Alex Williamson as chief executive. 

Today in numbers

Supergroup’s jump in like-for-like sales during the year ending April 29.

The number of jobs that are at risk after Icandy fell into administration.

Tomorrow’s agenda

With no financial updates scheduled tomorrow, be sure to catch our latest episode of The Retail Week featuring founder John Roberts.  

Luke Tugby, head of content