Shop Direct, the UK’s second largest pureplay digital retailer, has appointed Emma Alexander as fashion director, heading up its branded and own brand clothing and footwear offerings. She will report to group product director and executive board member, Sam Perkins.
Alexander joins the company, which operates Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com, on 9 July 2018 from Jack Wills, where she was chief product officer with responsibility for all categories globally, covering buying, design and sourcing. She led a 75-strong team that improved the product offering and speed to market, as well as grew the retailer’s customer base.
Prior to this, Alexander spent four years as brand director at USC, where she helped to turnaround the business, and four years at Marks & Spencer in senior fashion roles, including head of buying for men’s formalwear, footwear and accessories, and head of buying for the Per Una and Limited Collection brands in womenswear. Her experience also spans positions with Jaeger and River Island.
At Shop Direct, Alexander will oversee all fashion buying and design, focusing on further strengthening the clothing and footwear category that makes up 34% of the group’s retail sales.
The role will include developing the business’ brand portfolio, which spans popular high street names like River Island and Mango, and premium labels, such as Hugo Boss and Armani. She will also be charged with driving the business’ sportswear offering – a market in which Shop Direct is the UK’s top online seller.
In addition, Alexander will head the ongoing development of Shop Direct’s own label, V by Very, which 45% of its customers have purchased. Launched in September 2016 and spanning menswear, womenswear and childrenswear, V by Very is the group’s most popular brand, making up 10% of all retail sales.
Alexander said: “Shop Direct has grown into one of the biggest, most innovative and most ambitious UK pureplay etailers, with a fashion offering to match. In recent years it’s transformed its portfolio with a wealth of outstanding brands, and built an inspirational own label that’s been a hit with customers thanks to strong design, value and quality.
“I want to continue the group’s fashion trajectory by delivering the brands our customers crave and taking V by Very even further – making it a household name. I can’t wait to link up with the team and get going.”
Perkins said: “Emma is an exceptional fashion leader who’s consistently shown she knows her customer and the industry inside out. She builds great relationships and delivers commercial results, both in branded and own brand fashion.
“She’s the perfect person to lead our clothing and footwear teams through the next phase of our transformation, as we continue to hone our portfolio of outstanding brands around our customer and build on the early success of V by Very.”