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Ecommerce boss aims to double Office web sales

Office has appointed former Fat Face head of home shopping Rob Worthington to the newly created role of ecommerce director, as the footwear chain looks to double its online sales and expand overseas.

Worthington has been tasked with at least doubling Office’s online sales, which for the year to January 2010 were about £15m. He will be responsible for all areas of the chain’s ecommerce operation, including its design, sales and service.

Worthington, who joined Office earlier this month, said: “Like a lot of retailers who have had a website, we’ve enjoyed organic growth online. We now want to focus more online and grow these sales and take this to the next level.”

Worthington will lead a redesign of the site, which will include improved navigation and will go live by October. The ecommerce platform will also be overhauled by the first quarter of next year.

The chain is expected to open up its website to European shoppers within the next 12 months to test shopper appetite before setting up a bricks-and-mortar operation overseas. It has begun exploring a possibile roll-out into countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as Scandinavia.

Worthington said he planned to replicate the in-store experience online. “We want to make the site experience as strong as the in-store experience, so we are trying to integrate all the channels so the customer feels like they’re shopping in the same place,” he said.

Prior to his three-year tenure at lifestyle retailer Fat Face, Worth-ington worked as head of marketing at Britannia Music, the Universal Music-owned catalogue retailer.

In March, retail entrepreneur

Sir Tom Hunter was understood to have rebuffed a number of unsolicited approaches of between £110m and £120m for the footwear chain, which he owns via his West Coast Capital private equity partnership.

London-based Office has 64 stores and 34 concessions and plans to open an additional six concessions in House of Fraser and six more standalone stores this year.

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