Selfridges has hired a former Marks & Spencer head of e-commerce to oversee the much-anticipated launch of its transactional web site in 2010.

Peter Robinson, who launched in 1999, has been appointed as multichannel director at the luxury department store chain, reporting to Selfridges chief executive Paul Kelly.

Kelly said: “We’re putting the first building blocks in place for an online Selfridges that’s as vibrant, exciting and successful as our stores.” He added that the retailer had made a “serious financial investment” in the venture, which has “big potential”.

The retailer is in the process of hiring an in-house team to work on the launch of the site in two years’ time.

Selfridges is the latest luxury player to reveal intentions to capitalise on the booming UK online retail market, which grew 54 per cent to£46.6 billion last year.

It joins other luxury retailers from Liberty to Hardy Amies that are set to launch online this year. Harrods relaunched its transactional web site last year.

After leaving Marks & Spencer in 2007, Robinson became director and founder of multichannel consultancy RMC Solutions.

For the year to January 31, 2007, Selfridges’ sales rose 11 per cent to£597 million and profits soared 33 per cent to£65 million.

* Paul Kelly will be taking part in this year’s Retail Week Conference. For more details, visit