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Paul Kelly reinstalled as head of Brown Thomas

Selfridges chief executive Paul Kelly has been reinstalled as head of Irish luxury department store Brown Thomas as part of a surprise reshuffle in which Brown Thomas chief executive Nigel Blow has left the group.

The reshuffle came as Irish shoppers continue to rein in spending amid exceptionally tough trading conditions in the country.

Kelly, who will remain chief executive of Selfridges in the UK which is also owned by Weston, ran the Brown Thomas group between 1992 and 2003. He is expected to return to reinvogirate the seven store group, which has suffered slowing sales during the downturn.

Last year, Blow – who was buying and merchandising director at Harrods before he joined Brown Thomas in 2007 – warned that profits for 2008 would be lower and that conditions in 2009 would be tough.

Stephen Sealey, formerly director of womenswear and accessories at Brown Thomas, has become managing director, reporting directly to Kelly.

Kelly told The Irish Times: “All Irish retailers are facing difficult economic circumstances at the moment but I believe that our strong brand heritage gives us a unique position in the market”.

“I have been in the retail business for over 40 years and I know that the Brown Thomas group will continue to thrive and deliver the international quality that has earned us our exemplary reputation over many years.”

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