PARIS — A gust of innovation is bound to blow through designer outlet malls in Europe soon.
WWD has learned that developer McArthurGlen has tapped Vittorio Radice, the star retailer best known for rejuvenating the British department store Selfridges, as its first nonexecutive director.
His appointment comes at a time of rapid expansion for the U.K.-based operator. It has seven projects under development, including a 70 million euro, or $90.3 million at current exchange rate, mall in the heart of Tuscany with bridges over the River Arno linking more than 100 shops. The unit is slated to open this fall.
At present, McArthurGlen operates 13 designer outlets, including two of the largest — in Serraville, Italy, and Cheshire Oaks, U.K. — selling brands such as Prada, Polo Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Bulgari and Versace. The company is also present in France, Holland and Austria.
McArthurGlen chairman Joey W. Kaempfer said Radice would bring a “fresh perspective” to the design, positioning, marketing and tenant mix of its centers.
Radice, 47, is also expected to share his expertise in building brands and revitalizing the retail experience.
Last June, Radice exited Marks & Spencer plc after one year as head of its home and general merchandise division. His tenure culminated with the opening of the first Lifestore home furnishings format, considered a major development in lifestyle retailing.
But he is best known for his trendsetting revamp of Selfridges, where he put the spotlight on brands, served up a number of restaurants alongside trendy fashions and introduced non-apparel items, such as iPods, into the mix. Before Selfridges, he was managing director of Habitat U.K., the home furnishings chain.
Radice could not be reached for comment Tuesday.