First Quench hires GUS boss for direct sales role

First Quench, Britain’s largest drinks retailer, has recruited Great Universal Stores (GUS) marketing director Elaine Round to head home shopping operation Drinks Direct.

She joins as director of new business development and home shopping this month. Round’s remit is to build sales through the direct business and Wine Rack gift delivery service, as well as to increase online purchases.

After working for both Littlewoods and JD Williams, she became director of marketing and customer services at GUS’ family hampers division.

Round says: “Home shopping is a multi-million pound business for First Quench and it represents a significant growth opportunity. Co-ordinating all the elements in the mix so they work hand in hand is critical to its success.”

She will also oversee the development of First Quench’s Martha’s Vineyard chain, Firkin off-licences and Home Run franchise.

Formed last year through the merger of Thresher’s and Victoria Wine, First Quench has 2,652 shops.

Round will report to marketing and buying director Ralph Hayward, who says the company aims to build its home shopping division into a &£50m business within the next few years.

First Quench recently reorganised its home shopping operation – bringing the sales and marketing functions together under one department.

Whitbread has announced plans to sell its 50 per cent share in the business, which it owns jointly with Punch Taverns.

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