LK Bennett has appointed Jo Hooper, formerly of John Lewis and Debenhams, to the newly created role of group product director with immediate effect.
Reporting directly to chief executive Robert Bensoussan, Hooper will be responsible for the product vision and strategy across all of LK Bennett’s core categories: footwear, ready-to-wear, bags and accessories. She will lead the company’s design, buying and merchandising teams on a global level.
Drapers revealed in April that Hooper was to leave her role as womenswear buying director at John Lewis after six years. She joined the company in 2008, responsible for driving up turnover and profit in the womenswear business by introducing new brands and developing the company’s own portfolio.
Before that, Hooper held a number of senior retail positions, including head of buying and design at Debenhams from May 1998 to December 2002.
Bensoussan said: “We are very excited to bring Jo into this important position to implement our product strategy, develop our ranges and drive further growth of the business as a global aspirational womenswear brand.”
Hooper added: “I’m delighted to be joining such a prestigious brand that draws on its iconic British heritage and look forward to continuing to develop its position as a leading fashion house.”
LK Bennett has also announced it will move to a new 17,743 sq ft headquarters at Rivington House on London’s Great Eastern Street in January.
The business has agreed a 15-year lease with a 10-year break on the whole building at a rent equating to £46 per square foot per annum.
Bensoussan said: “This is an exciting and momentous move for LK Bennett as we take the company to a striking and efficient new headquarters environment in a location that resonates with our design roots and reflects our market-leading image in the retail industry.”
LK Bennett was advised by Gryphon Property Partners. Stirling Ackroyd acted as letting agents for the property’s owner Boultbee Brooks Real Estate, with additional advice provided by Aurum Real Estate.