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Karen Millen hires global chief to lead expansion

Karen Millen has hired its first global retail chief as it aims to increase sales from its international flagship stores.

Former Long Tall Sally chief executive Sian Hession joins the womenswear chain as global retail operations director.

She will spearhead a project managing 40 of Karen Millen’s stores including Regent Street in London, New York, Los Angeles and Moscow, along with its website, in a bid to increase sales from these “showcase” shops.

Hession’s project will last for at least six months. The retailer would not confirm if she would stay beyond this point. It aims to establish best practice across Karen Millen in disciplines such as visual merchandising and online engagement.

Project learnings will be extended to other stores as the premium retailer expands its significant overseas business. Nearly two thirds of Karen Millen sales come from overseas.

Karen Millen was hived off from the rest of the Aurora Fashions group last year to help finance its global expansion. The retailer is aiming to double sales to £500m in the next five years, driven by international activities.

Hession has over 25 years of retail experience and was formerly retail director at Coast. She will report to Karen Millen managing director Gemma Metheringham.

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