House of Fraser

LONDON — Retail veteran David Walker-Smith has been named chief product and trading officer at House of Fraser, the British department store chain that’s owned by the Chinese company Sanpower, WWD has learned.

Walker-Smith will join the executive team and oversee the buying and design functions. The store said his mission will be to bring “a more consistent and defined approach to best practice in buying, design and sourcing.” He’ll be working with the merchandising team to optimize commercial opportunities, work on brand partnerships and develop the in-house brands.

Walker-Smith will join the store on March 12, replacing Maria Hollins, who is leaving the business. He will report directly to Alex Williamson, HoF’s chief executive officer.

Williamson said HoF had great ambitions for growth in the U.K. and that Walker-Smith will play an “instrumental role” in the retailer’s strategic plans and transformation program laid out a year ago.

Walker-Smith said he’d be working to create “unique customer propositions,” and said he joined because of Williamson’s “huge ambitions” for the store.

Walker-Smith was most recently managing director of Fenwick of Bond Street, where his brief was to reposition Fenwick’s Bond Street unit and optimize commercial opportunities and brand partnerships.

During his time at Fenwick, Walker-Smith set a 4,150-square-foot space shoe department on the ground floor, a 1 million pound project. He also helped to redesign the beauty space on the store’s ground floor, attracting such brands including MAC, Bodyism and Charlotte Tilbury.

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