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Management rejig at John Lewis

John Lewis retail operations director Gareth Thomas has been appointed director of retail design and development in a reshuffle of the store operations division.

Thomas will oversee the John Lewis store opening strategy, which includes 10 new department stores by 2013 followed by a further 10, as well as managing the environments of its existing 26 stores. He will take over on July 1 when retail development director Ann Humphries retires.

Store design and commissioning will also come under Thomas's new remit.

Thomas's appointment comes after he missed out on the chief executive role last month. Personnel director Andy Street will take up the top job later this month. One insider said Thomas's new role was a key position given the scale of the expansion.

John Lewis supply chain director Patrick Lewis will become retail operations director, overseeing the day-to-day running of stores.

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