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Kurt Geiger fills Steptoe’s shoes with two new buyers

Kurt Geiger has appointed two key footwear buyers to replace head of men’s buying Neil Steptoe.

David Aquilina, a buyer for Hong Kong luxury department store Lane Crawford, and Asos men’s accessories buyer Shaun Donnelly are set to take over Steptoe’s role.

Drapers revealed in November that Steptoe would leave the business to join branded footwear etailer Zalando.

He starts his new role this month after nearly six years at Kurt Geiger.

Aquilina has been at Lane Crawford since 2008, after previously working for Harrods in buying roles for two years. He was unavailable for comment. Donnelly has worked for Asos since January 2011 and was previously at Liberty. It is unclear if he will be replaced. Asos was unavailable for comment.

The appointments come just a week after Drapers revealed that Kurt Geiger is to cease operating the men’s footwear departments in five House of Fraser stores from September. It will be replaced by Dune Group.

Dune Group already runs the men’s footwear departments in 51 House of Fraser stores.

Kurt Geiger, which has 63 standalone stores worldwide and 112 concessions, has continued to defy the economic downturn.

It opened five stores in the UK last year. It also opened a further 22 concessions in department stores and continued to expand its wholesale and licensing business.

It was bought by US retail giant Jones Group last June for about £215m. Jones Group, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, owns footwear brand Nine West, for which Kurt Geiger has the licensing and distribution deal in the UK.

Last year, Kurt Geiger reported a 38.7% rise in EBITDA to £18.8m, up from £13.5m, for the year to January 29, 2011. Like-for-like sales rose 16%. Turnover increased 22.4% to £185m, up from £151.2m the previous year.

Kurt Geiger declined to comment.

Meanwhile, clothing and footwear etailer Zalando will launch in Scandinavia in May, marking its eighth European market. The German etailer will sell about 1,100 products. Zalando sells a mix of menswear, womenswear, kidswear and footwear. It stocks a range of high street and designer brands including G-Star, Tommy Hilfiger and Miss Sixty in its home market, as well as Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy and the UK.

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