The former M&S womenswear head talks to Retail Week about her new appointment
Former Marks & Spencer creative director Yasmin Yusuf is joining niche fashion retailer East as its chief executive in April. Retail Week talks to Yusuf talks about her plans for the womenswear chain.

What attracted you to the East business?

'I believe East has the potential to become a major international fashion brand. It is a strong, profitable company. It is pitched at the right place in the market in terms of age profile and attitude.'

What kind of changes do you plan to make to the offer?

'I will be looking at womenswear and breaking down the categories to see what can be developed, for example accessories, jewellery, as well as lifestyle and beauty product.'

East is well known for its hippy-chic fashions. Will you be repositioning the brand?

'No, I think there is a bit of the bohemian in me and it is an important element of the [East] handwriting. A lot of women wear it in different ways.'

East's closest fashion peer is considered to be Monsoon. Do you have similar ambitions for the chain?

'They are two very different companies and we will make them more different. Monsoon is going in one direction and part of my job is looking at where East might go to.'

Do you plan to alter the retailer's price points and perhaps take it more upmarket?

'It is already quite upmarket price-wise. The pricing gives me room to produce some very desirable clothes. However, there is no reason why we can't put a premium range in.'

Do you have plans to introduce a signature range?

'No, I haven't thought about that.'

East, which was set up in 1994, has 58 shops, including seven department store concessions.