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Northstar hires former Barratts buying boss to lead men’s footwear venture

Former Barratts buying and merchandising director Simon Robson has joined private label manufacturer Northstar Europe to head up its emerging men’s footwear department.

The business, which makes footwear for several big-name retailers, at present focuses on women’s and kids’ products, but Robson’s arrival heralds a push into men’s footwear.

Northstar is also looking to create two own brands – one men’s and one women’s – with the aim of launching for spring 15. A capsule collection will launch for autumn 14.

Luke Struthers, managing partner of Northstar Europe, said: “Simon will be bringing an extra arm of expertise to our team, using his extensive knowledge of product development.”

Robson has also worked as men’s and kids’ buying director at Barratts, buying director for Stylo Shoes and men’s footwear buyer for Ravel.

Struthers told Drapers the team would look to expand as its output grows and would target new accounts and also look to offer men’s footwear to its current clients.

“Simon is going to go back to his roots of product development. If that can be channelled in the right way it will be great for our customers,” he added.

Northstar supplies retailers in the UK, Ireland and South Africa and plans to launch in Europe “very soon”.

Barratts fell into administration for the third time in three years last autumn, with Pavers subsequently acquiring some of the retailer’s stores while footwear veteran Harvey Jacobson buying its IP and the website.

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