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Shop Direct appoints fashion director

Gap’s European buying director Zoe Matthews has been appointed as Shop Direct’s fashion director, responsible for overseeing the buying team and own-brand proposition.

The newly created role is the culmination of Shop Direct’s senior clothing and footwear team restructure, which split buying out from merchandising. It comes as it seeks to grow the fashion element of its business.

The group, which owns Very and Littlewoods, appointed co-founder Sarah Curran in December to develop its luxury strategy. Curran focuses on premium brands and is not in a buying role.

Matthews, who will start on July 15, will report to group product director Matt Dixon. She will oversee the 100-strong buying team and focus on the development of own-brand ranges.

She has worked at GAP for just under three years, and has previously been senior head of buying and design at White Stuff and head of buying at House of Fraser. She has also spent time in senior buying roles at John Lewis and Marks & Spencer.

Matthews’ team will comprise newly promoted womenswear buying director Toni Craig, head of buying for menswear and sportswear Neil Carter, head of buying for kidswear Daniel Paton – who is covering Jane Briggs’ maternity leave – and head of buying for footwear and accessories Karen McLaughlin.

Former clothing and footwear trading director Pauline Lauder has been promoted to head all the merchandising teams in her new role of group merchandising director.

Dixon said: “Since being promoted last November, I’ve spent time with the teams restructuring our clothing and footwear department. This is an important step for us as we look to drive our fashion business forward and create clear career paths for our people.

“Zoe’s arrival cements the new structure and will ensure we have a consistent approach across our clothing and footwear. Her fashion credentials are second to none and we’re looking forward to working with her.”

Matthews added: “Shop Direct’s business is in a great position, thanks to its experienced team, strong focus on stock and efficiency and deep understanding of its customer base.

“There’s a huge opportunity to really develop and curate its product range, particularly in own-brand fashion.”

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