LONDON — Guy Salter has been named cochairman of retail businesses at Sanpower Group, which part-owns the British department store chain House of Fraser and a variety of businesses across the financial services, telecommunications and media industries.
Salter, a longtime retail executive, adviser and investor, is the former deputy chairman of the British luxury goods lobby Walpole and founder of London Craft Week. His appointment is part of a new business structure at Sanpower.
Sanpower, which is run by founder and chairman Yuan Yafei, said Salter’s appointment was the first major move as part of the new strategy, which aims to organize the various businesses into sectors.
Salter will advise Yafei on the integration of the group’s global supply chain and help drive Sanpower’s global retail operations at a group level. “Guy’s proven excellence in retail and luxury will help ensure we become the leading player in new East-West retail concepts,” Yafei said.
As reported earlier this month, Sanpower sold a 51 percent stake in House of Fraser to C.banner International Holdings Ltd., owner of the Hamleys toy store chain and a retailer of mid-to-premium footwear brands in China.
Sanpower retains a minority holding in the retailer, which has 59 locations across the U.K. and Ireland and one store in Nanjing, China. House of Fraser’s annual sales are 1.3 billion pounds. Earlier this month the struggling British retailer said it plans to close stores as part of a major restructuring following the sale.
Salter, who has worked with Prince Charles, Asprey, Tanner Krolle, Garrard, Monica Vinader and Hamilton & Hare, said retail “at its best is always about innovation, and it’s a great privilege to be given the chance to make a creative and strategic contribution to the development of Sanpower’s global retail portfolio.”
HoF’s chairman Frank Slevin said Salter’s “insight, based on retail experience ranging from fast fashion to luxury, will be of huge benefit to the Sanpower Group. We have been bringing Guy up to speed on our transformation plans for House of Fraser over recent days and we look forward to taking advantage of his brand experience as we position House of Fraser for the future.”
Sanpower said its overall structure will focus on five key divisions: Health, retail, finance, technology and industry. “These changes reflect Sanpower’s continued commitment to adapting to the changing habits of consumers around the world as part of a long-term brand-building strategy for its 100-plus businesses and subsidiaries,” Yafei said.
The retail industry group includes Sanpower’s consumer and retail businesses, including department stores Brookstone, which has outlets in the U.S. and China, and House of Fraser.
Sanpower was founded by Yafei in 1993 and has controlling stakes in more than 100 subsidiaries. The company said its global workforce is 120,000 strong, including 40,000 non-Chinese employees. It is marking its 25th anniversary.
Yafei said his vision for the group is to create “a sustainably developing global modern services group with Chinese characteristics which merges traditional Chinese philosophy and modern Western management concepts.”