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Exclusive: Reiss lures Richardson back to lift womenswear

Lisa Richardson, former womenswear design director at premium retailer Reiss, has rejoined the  business on a consultancy basis.

Richardson, who headed up the womenswear design team for over 10 years, officially left Reiss in September last year but had not worked at the business for several months before that as she was on maternity leave.

Drapers understands that Richardson was asked to come back to the retailer because of falling womenswear sales  and returned at the start of the year.

A source close to the situation said: “Reiss’s womenswear hasn’t been the same since Lisa left – the quality is nowhere near as good and sales have been affected as a result.”

Reiss declined to comment on the performance of its womenswear division. However, a  spokeswoman confirmed Richardson would be working on both the womenswear mainline and the newly relaunched 1971 collection.

“Lisa was a key member of Reiss’s original design team for many years and has recently returned following the births of her two children,” the spokeswoman said.

Reiss will unveil its revamped 1971 diffusion line in stores next week, after the retailer’s brand director Andy Rogers admitted late last year that the collection had become too similar to the mainline in recent seasons.

Reiss’s most recent accounts, for the full year to January 31, 2012, show EBITDA fell 14% to £11.2m. Sales for

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