Mar 28, 2018
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Fenwick shops at John Lewis for property chief

Mar 28, 2018

Former John Lewis exec Jeremy Collins is swapping the 51-department  store chain for the much smaller Fenwick chain where he will become property director from next month.

Photo: Fenwick

He will also join the upscale retailer’s executive board after having spent 14 years in the same property-focused role at John Lewis. During his tenure, the company more than doubled its department store numbers, opening giant sites in some of the UK’s most prestigious malls.

He previously worked at Lend Lease as retail and project director, as well as at a number of property companies and local authorities, he had also once been president of the British Council of Shopping Centres, the body now known as REVO.

He said that the “family values” of Fenwick and its overall approach resonated with him and he’s looking forward to “helping to steer the business through the constantly evolving retail landscape to achieve its potential.”

He’s certainly joining at an interesting time with the company having named Robbie Feather (who has a strong e-tail background) its new CEO a few months ago and having launched major changes that have lessened the influence of the founding family over day to day operations.

Fenwick has been extremely slow to wake up to the power of the internet and still doesn’t have a transactional website, although one is planned. That puts heavy pressure on its property chief as its stores are, for now, where it makes its money.

Last autumn it reported lower sales and profits with its then CEO saying it “faces some of the most volatile and challenging market conditions seen in its 134-year history.”

Last year it also announced the closure of its Leicester and Windsor stores, although it’s still opening new sites in key locations such as in the Lexicon Bracknell. It now has nine stores around the UK.

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