LONDON — Harrods Holdings has promoted Marty Wikstrom to managing director, succeeding John Whitacre, who left Harrods after just eight months on the job.
Wikstrom, the first woman to hold the post in Harrods’s 152-year history, was deputy managing director of the company. She reports to Mohammed Al-Fayed, Harrods chairman and owner.
Wikstrom and Whitacre both joined Harrods from Nordstrom Inc. about a year ago. Whitacre was Nordstrom’s chief executive officer, while Wikstrom served as president of full-line stores, but both left the Seattle-based chain after it experienced several difficult seasons and the Nordstrom family decided to take back full control.
Whitacre said in a statement that he was returning to the U.S. “for family reasons and to pursue other interests.” A Harrods spokesman said Whitacre would act as a consultant for Harrods, working on that company’s U.S.-based projects.
Pretax profits for Harrods Holdings, which includes the Harrods store in London and some Harrods airport stores, fell 82 percent in 2000, to $7.8 million. (Dollar figures are converted from the pound at current exchange rates.) A spokesman said the drop was due chiefly to real estate and depreciation costs.
Sales were up about 2.2 percent, to $852 million. Pretax profits of Harrods’s Knightsbridge store dropped 48 percent, to $28 million on sales of $610 million. Harrods, which is not a public company, reports results once a year. Its fiscal year ends on January 27.
Harrods has been investing heavily over the last few years in remodeling its women’s and men’s fashion departments, and plans to redo key beauty areas beginning next year. The store also has been moving to leverage the Harrods brand by wholesaling fashion and gifts, opening shops in airports and launching an e-commerce site in the U.S. The site has been suspended, but a relaunch is planned for next spring.

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