Meg Lustman has said she will focus on building John Lewis’s fashion categories into market leaders when she joins the business next week.
Lustman, who stepped down from her managing director role at Warehouse in February, is taking on a nine-month contract at the department store, starting from November 4. She will be responsible for overseeing all of John Lewis’s fashion offer, including recently launched own brand Kin and the Somerset by Alice Temperley range.
Lustman told Drapers her priority was to adopt “the overall John Lewis aspiration to have market leadership across categories”.
She added: “[For] the area I’m inheriting that’s not the case, so that will be my focus. I think there are real opportunities there.”
Earlier this year, managing director Andy Street said he was looking to double John Lewis’s fashion market share. At present the retailer is 17th in both womenswear and menswear, categories in which it is expected to have shares of 2.1% and 1.8% respectively by the end of the year, according to Verdict Retail.
Lustman said the move had “come about quite quickly”, with John Lewis needing an experienced fashion hand to work under newly promoted buying and brand director Paula Nickolds, who comes from a homeware background.
Nickolds took on the role in September, replacing Peter Ruis, who left to join Jigsaw as chief executive.
Lustman replaces Matt McCormack, who left in July to move to his native Australia to run denim retailer Just Jeans.
“I’ll be giving Paula support and providing leadership for John Lewis’s very competent fashion team. In a time of change it is important to create stability,” Lustman said. She added that the contract could be extended to a permanent role if both sides are happy at the end of the first nine months.
“I need to make sure before going into another large organisation that it’s right,” Lustman said.
She will take up her new role nine months after leaving Warehouse, where she had been managing director since 2009.
She said her exit was unconnected to the restructure of parent company Aurora Fashions, noting she had “taken Warehouse as far as I could” and was looking for “greater flexibility” in her working life.