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Fenn Wright Manson’s Hollins joins Asos as trading director

Online giant Asos has hired Fenn Wright Manson interim merchandising director Maria Hollins as its new trading director.

Hollins replaces Gwynn Milligan, who was wooed from the young fashion etailer by ex-Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed to head up his new acquisition, private Sale website Cocosa.

Al Fayed snapped up Cocosa, which sells luxury fashion and accessories brands including Vivienne Westwood and Julien Macdonald at discount prices, for an undisclosed sum in July.

Hollins had overseen contemporary womenswear brand Fenn Wright Manson’s merchandising division since January. Before that she led the same division at womenswear chain Whistles.

Like Milligan, Hollins cut her teeth at Arcadia Group, spending 18 years at the business. Both held various merchandising roles at Sir Philip Green’s fashion empire and rose to merchandising director.

Hollins joins Asos as its UK business suffers a sales slowdown. Over the three months to September 30, domestic sales inched up 1% compared with a 15% surge in the first quarter, which boss Nick Robertson put down to hard-hit younger shoppers being driven back to the high street by promotions.

However, total retail sales rocketed 53% over the period, driven by soaring international sales, which jumped 141%. Robertson expects its overseas business, which accounts for 58% of sales, to grow to almost 90% of revenue over the next three years.

The retailer launched three overseas sites in Australia, Italy and Spain in its last quarter and is looking to launch a Chinese website in the next two years.

Asos is understood to be close to agreeing another high-profile appointment. Fenn Wright Manson, which as well as its wholesale business has 19 stores and 60 concessions, was sold to Darwin Private Equity for an undisclosed sum last October. Jonathan Kaye, partner of Darwin Private Equity, said at the time the firm planned to roll out more standalone stores and expand Fenn Wright Manson’s petites collection.

The brand was unavailable for comment.

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