House of Fraser poaches Reiss’ digital boss for buying & merchandising director role

House of Fraser Simon Pickering

House of Fraser has poached Reiss’ chief digital officer Simon Pickering to take on the role of buying and merchandising director for clothing and accessories.

Pickering, who only joined Reiss five months ago, will begin his tenure at the department store chain mid next month.

According to Drapers, his role is a newly-expanded one and he will be based at House of Fraser’s head office and report to executive product and trading director Maria Hollins.

Prior to Reiss, Pickering was at Fat Face for six years, starting off as product director before becoming trading director in 2014.

Before that, he was divisional director at Arcadia for three years.

Pickering’s appointment comes amid challenging times for House of Fraser, which recently revealed falling sales amid its Christmas trading update – including a 2.9 per cent drop in store sales and a 7.5 per cent drop in online transactions.

In the post-Christmas period, the retailer admitted to having “disappointing” sales, but it has reportedly seen some recovery in the new year both online and in-store.

The Christmas update followed reports that House of Fraser was seeking to reduce its rents, and while no store closures are planned, it is reportedly looking to reduce its store size by roughly a third.

Despite this, House of Fraser stressed it was a “business in transition” and was in the middle of a large-scale transformation strategy which saw cost savings of £10 million last year, with a view to saving a further £16 million this year.

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