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Aurora director takes control at Warehouse

Aurora Fashions has appointed Meg Lustman to the newly created role of managing director of its Warehouse young fashion chain.

Lustman, who has been a main board director at the group – which also owns womenswear chains Coast, Karen Millen and Oasis – for the past five years, has stepped down from her role as group strategy officer. In her former role, Lustman was responsible for driving ecommerce growth and international expansion at the 1,427-store business.

Aurora trades in 45 countries in five continents and ecommerce sales have risen by 145% over the past two years. The group’s websites now deliver to 26 countries.

Lustman, who joined Aurora chain Oasis 10 years ago, remains on the board of the group. Prior to joining Oasis, she worked for retail group Sears for 10 years and oversaw global expansion at kidswear chain Adams and womenswear retailer Wallis, which were then owned by Sears.

International expansion and ecommerce will be overseen by members of the existing Aurora team, who will report to Aurora chief executive Mike Shearwood and chief finance officer Richard Glanville.

Warehouse brand director Sue Vyse will report to Lustman. Shearwood said: “Warehouse has a strong brand heritage and an experienced executive team. I believe that Meg’s appointment will maximise the brand’s future growth – both domestically and internationally. I have no doubt that Meg’s broad experience and great track record of taking brands into new markets and distribution channels will be key.”

In October, Aurora revealed that it had annual global sales of about £720m and net debt of about £110m.

It announced plans for the group to open a further 18 UK concessions and eight standalone stores by April, taking its total number of UK outlets to 863, of which 372 are Warehouse. Internationally, 78 out of 100 of its overseas stores are company-owned and 32 are franchise stores.

New openings include the launch of Karen Millen in Spain with two standalone stores and 15 concessions in El Corte Inglés department stores. It will also open two Karen Millen standalone stores in the US, taking its total in the country to 14.

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