USC brand director Emma Alexander has left the company with immediate effect, Drapers understands.
The surprise exit comes just a week after the opening of USC’s new 18,000 sq ft flagship at The Plaza on Oxford Street, positioning USC to compete with the likes of Topshop, Foot Locker and Forever 21, which she oversaw.
USC declined to comment on the move.
Alexander told Drapers: “After four years at USC I have decided to leave the business and move onto a new challenge.”
She declined to comment on her next move.
Alexander has been at the Sports Direct-owned retailer since November 2010, when it was still owned by Dundonald Holding, one of Sir Tom Hunter’s companies. It was sold to the sports giant in 2011.
She previously worked at Marks & Spencer and Jaeger as head of buying, and River Island and M&S as a buyer.
Alexander has been credited with overhauling the image of USC to create a more consistent approach. Lacoste, Hilfiger Denim, Weekend Offender, Pretty Green and Henri Lloyd have joined the brand list alongside the likes of Levi’s, Quiksilver and own labels such as SoulCal and Soviet.
Sports Direct’s premium lifestyle division, of which USC is part alongside former independents Flannels, Cruise and Van Mildert, recorded sales growth of 49.4% to £214m in its most recent results, for the year to April 27, 2014.