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77. Paula Nickolds, commercial director, John Lewis

Paula Nickolds, John Lewis

Position last year: 89

Promoted to the role of commercial director in September, Paula Nickolds has made a series of changes to John Lewis’ fashion offer.

In January, alongside fashion and beauty buying director Ed Connolly (number 28), she helped launched its Denim Wardrobe by Trilogy concept at its Peter Jones store in London’s Sloane Square, and then in July Nickolds bolstered the department store’s fashion credentials with the announcement of a 60-piece ready-to-wear collection with British couture designer Bruce Oldfield. She said the range “marks a new chapter” in fashion for John Lewis.

As well as overseeing the department store’s wider fashion offer, Nickolds has ensured that John Lewis has retained its position as a market leader, seamlessly combining the in-store, online and mobile experience. Mobile womenswear sales have increased 86% alone, versus last year.

This was epitomised by the September opening of the Birmingham store, were Wi-fi is available throughout, there is a dedicated click-and-collect area and signs are found throughout asking customers to see a fuller collection online, while more space is also given over to the own-label product it is pushing. 

This year John Lewis has launched an app with a “find similar” feature that tracks down products with a close colour, shape, or sizing to the one the customer originally wanted.

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