Liberty appoints marketing chief

Liberty, the troubled London store group, has hired Julia Bowe from Austin Reed as its first marketing director.

Bowe, who is marketing manager at Austin Reed, will take charge of co-ordinating the wholesale and retail divisions at Liberty, and will help promote the brand worldwide.

Critics of the company say that there has been poor co-ordina tion by management, especially in areas relating to advertising and marketing.

The marketing operation was set up last year by former chief executive Patrick Austen (MW November 24 1995), who instigated the search for a marketing director.

Austen was removed after profits for the group collapsed. He was replaced in April by former British Shoe Corporation managing director Ian Thomson.

Bowe’s appointment comes amid a restructuring of the company which has led to the closure of 20 regional stores and the removal of its top managers.

Last week Liberty said the restructuring had been a success, after it announced its profits had tripled in the first half of the year to 1.1m on static sales.

Bowe will work with marketing consultancy Bean Andrews Norways Cramphorn, which the store hired three months ago to handle its advertising (MW July 19).

Liberty has traditionally shunned advertising, but it is expected to launch a high-profile campaign imminently.

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