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Three years ago, Ed Burstell left the comfy confines of Bergdorf Goodman to become buying director of Liberty of London. Since then, Burstell has effected a top-to-bottom refurbishment of the storied English emporium, and was promoted to managing director in 2010.
This story first appeared in the December 9, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“They needed to have the dust blown off. That was the mission,” he says.
During his first six months alone, Burstell cleared out some 300 resources and added hip young designers like Alexander Wang and Stella McCartney to the mix. (“How can you be in England and not have Stella?!” he exclaims.)
More recently, he overhauled the beauty floor, bringing in a slew of new lines, including Trish McEvoy, Bobbi Brown, Dermalogica, Decléor, Byredo, Bumble and bumble and many others. The next phase for beauty covers services, with six new treatment rooms scheduled to open in the coming months. The results have been stellar. Overall, Liberty’s business was up 19 percent in 2009, 24 percent in 2010 and 14 percent thus far this year, with beauty posting year-to-date gains of about 20 percent, according to Burstell.
Still, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the retail dynamo, who admits he gets homesick for New York every now and then.
“This is not a service economy,” he laughingly laments of his new hometown. “There is no doorman. There is no delivery. This is a do-it-yourself country!”