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Staff shake-up puts Reiss ‘back on track’

Reiss founder David Reiss insisted the premium retailer is “back on track” under a new structure and creative director, following the departure of its brand and ecommerce directors.

As exclusively revealed by this week, brand director Andy Rogers and ecommerce director Dan Lumb have stepped down from the business after five and two years respectively.

Their departures follow the promotion of menswear director James Spreckley to creative director in December, after he had developed the menswear business “in a way that fully reflects my vision for the brand”, said Reiss.

Spreckley, who has been at Reiss for almost 10 years, will oversee all design and creative teams across womenswear, menswear and accessories.

As a result, the retailer will no longer have individual directors for each product department; instead, Spreckley will be supported by heads of design.

“To be a strong, global brand we need a single voice but the message [we were communicating] in ecommerce, for example, wasn’t the same that was being promoted in stores,” Reiss told Drapers. “We needed one person controlling the whole thing. I know James can achieve the same success with womenswear [as menswear].”

Industry sources have suggested the retailer’s womenswear division has been struggling, but Reiss confirmed womenswear and menswear had seen positive like-for-likes since February 1.

The departure of Lumb and Rogers follows a series of senior exits this year, including commercial director Sanjay Sharma, trading director Gwynn Milligan and womenswear creative director Manuela Morin, whose relatively short stints at the business raised questions over staff morale.

But Reiss said some of the departures were due to differences in company cultures. “We’re very hands-on, very entrepreneurial at Reiss and that culture is so different from more corporate businesses,” he explained.

Spreckley will be supported by an as-yet-unnamed director of global visual merchandising, who will join the business on June 17.

The rest of the new team includes merchandising and product director Susan Millin, who joined late last year from womenswear chain Hobbs, where she was merchandising and production director, and former Pelé Sports global brand manager Zoe Geary, who was appointed head of international business development in October.

Autumn 13 at Reiss

“Bolder, confident and merchandising-driven” is how Reiss’s James Spreckley describes its autumn 13 womenswear collection, his first as creative director.

Quality fabrics - a key feature of the men’s range for several seasons - will underpin the new women’s collection, which features Reiss’s first cashmere range (between five and six pieces in both menswear and womenswear) and a wider pricing architecture.

Texture and tailoring stand out, with a pony-skin, laser-cut body-con dress set to retail between £395 and £425, the higher end of the scale.

Attention to detail such as a red velvet trim on a white blouse, smart coats and a soft pink, tapered suit (pictured) are also winners.

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