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Exclusive: Harvey Nichols to hire new team for private label business

Harvey Nichols is looking to recruit a new department for its private label business, kicking off with the imminent hire of a divisional boss.

The private label arm will comprise clothing, accessories and footwear “controlled and managed by us”, said chief executive Joseph Wan.

Final negotiations are taking place with the incoming head of private label development, and it is expected that the individual could ultimately be promoted to the Harvey Nichols board. Once this

person is in place, the luxury department store will recruit a wide range of roles ranging across design, quality control and sourcing, with up to a dozen positions being earmarked initially.

Wan told Drapers that the team structure has already been developed using external consultants. “We have the groundwork done so that once the person is in, recruitment can happen straight away,” he said.

Wan added that he would aim for the first collection to hit stores for autumn 14, although he acknowledged this was a “very tight” deadline and could be pushed back.

It is expected that the division, which has been devised to give Harvey Nichols greater margins and more control over product, could be home to a number of collections under different brand names.

This is the fourth and final pillar in Wan’s plan to double growth at the luxury department store in the next few years.

The three other elements, which Wan said were “full steam ahead”, include multichannel, international expansion and broadening its product range.

Harvey Nichols is expected to have “totally” relaunched its website by the end of 2013. The site is to be upgraded with click-and-collect capabilities and greater product information.

Wan is continuing to eye non-UK store launches, confirming that Harvey Nichols would announce at least another this year ahead of next spring’s launch in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku.

He would not be drawn on the location of the site, although confirmed that he visited South Africa twice last year, adding: “We have not arrived at a stage to say we are ready to sign there yet.”

Wan, who has been the subject of speculation regarding his eventual retirement from the department store, reiterated that he would stay in the role until a suitable successor had been identified, and that he would then work out a year’s notice period.

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