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Drapers Top 100 2016 – 55. Beth Butterwick, chief executive, Karen Millen

Beth Butterwick

Beth Butterwick

Beth Butterwick drops down this year’s list after a difficult year at Bonmarché, where she was chief executive until moving to Karen Millen in August.

It was a challenging start to her new role. At the beginning of December, three months into her tenure at Karen Millen, the business reported that its operating losses widened to £10.5m for the year to 27 February, from a £9.7m loss the year before. The retailer was hit by weaker trading in some of its key markets, including Russia, as well as the generally challenging retail environment. Total sales dropped 10% to £161m, while UK sales remained broadly flat.

On a more positive note, its operating losses were partly caused by investment in its online and mobile experience. Since then, Karen Millen has launched a new online platform. But Butterwick, who has been tasked with reshaping the retailer’s global position by increasing its digital focus, has her work cut out for her to turn its fortunes around next year.

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