Peter Ruis is setting his sights on making Anthropologie’s international arm as big as its US business, as he takes on the newly created role of managing director of international at the retailer.
Ruis joined the Urban Outfitters-owned lifestyle retailer on 9 July and is responsible for all territories outside the US and Canada, as exclusively revealed by Drapers. He reports to Anthropologie group president Andrew Carnie.
The former CEO of Jigsaw said he sees great opportunity for Anthropologie across the globe: “The exciting thing for me was to get hold of something very international and very under-penetrated in a lot of markets. It is a $2bn (£1.5bn) business in the States and there is huge opportunity in the rest of the world.
“We want to develop aggressively in Europe. The plan is to roll out international stores and come behind that with ecommerce capability. There are other plans outside the European Union that are fast afoot. We’re trying to get a business as big as the US business outside of the US.”
Anthropologie has 11 stores in the UK and more than 240 in the US.
Ruis is setting up a new design studio for the business in London to cater for different customers globally.
“We’re going to build a standalone hub in London, an autonomous centre with a new design studio. We’ll be building a design team in London, and dialling up the local brands and our own standalone design.
“We need that locality – not just in the UK but in different markets. The demographics are different, and the weather.
“It is a forward-thinking business. Although it is a big international company, it has a local point of view and the team tailors its approach to different countries and areas.
“As a lifestyle, experiential brand, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie set the pace. I like to join businesses with a strong ethos and integrity, and that deliver that ‘wow’ factor. As a brand they create something amazing and take the customer [with them].”
Drapers exclusively revealed that Ruis had left Jigsaw with immediate effect on 5 March after five years.
He previously worked at John Lewis for eight years, joining in 2005 as head of menswear, and rising to buying and brand director.
Ruis started his career at Marks & Spencer in 1989 as a graduate trainee. He rose through the ranks to eventually become senior selector. He was also formerly head of product at Ted Baker and brand director of Levi Strauss across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Industry observers told Drapers Ruis’s previous experience made him a good candidate for the new global position.
“His ‘big experience’ from John Lewis helped drive Jigsaw into a new era, and he should be able to bring a new broom to Anthropologie,” said one source. “His background is primarily in clothing, so we may see some more mainstream fashion collections coming through. Until now Anthropologie has been known for eclectic ranges, and its gifts and homeware.”
Lucy Harris, partner at recruitment firm Clarity Search, added: “Peter is an exceptional merchant and is more than capable of leading a global proposition. He has an eye for the customer and her sense of style. John Lewis and Jigsaw were big leadership roles and he had great success at Levi’s in an international role. This position is rolling up a lot of parts of his experience into one role.”