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John Lewis rejigs fashion buying team

John Lewis is restructuring its fashion buying team amid wider changes to its strategy following the appointment of Ed Connolly as fashion buying director in June last year.

Jo Bennett, who is currently womenswear buyer, will step up to the role of head of buying for womenswear from June 1. The position was held by Julie Wright, who took over the role on an interim basis following the departure of Jo Hooper in April last year.

Wright joined John Lewis again last year from Claire’s Accessories, having previously been head of accessories at John Lewis. She left the department store chain in February, but her next role is not known.

Caroline Bettis will also be promoted to head of buying for kidswear, nursery and haberdashery from the start of June. Bettis is currently nursery buyer, a position she has held since October 2005.

Camilla Rowe, who is currently head of buying for kidswear, nursery and toys, will take up the new role of head of women’s accessories in the next few months.

Connolly revealed to Drapers in January that he is changing the face of fashion for John Lewis: “It is about stretching out our offer to appeal to new customers and our existing customers, but in a different way.”

The department store retailer has lost a number of key fashion people in recent years, including Hooper and buying and brand director Peter Ruis, who left to become chief executive of Jigsaw in July 2013.

Ruis was succeeded by Paula Nickolds, who was previously buying director for the home division. Connolly was previously technology director.

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Drapers also understands JD Williams is making changes to its buying team to become more responsive to retail trends. The business is in a consultation period over the changes.

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