Austin Reed chief moves to John Lewis

Austin Reed marketing and development director Andrew Woodward has been poached by John Lewis to head its marketing department.

In his role as head of marketing, Woodward will report to Murray Hennessy, whose job title has changed from marketing director to commercial director to reflect his responsibilities for both marketing and supplier relations.

Woodward, who will join John Lewis on August 11, has been putting plans in place to relaunch the Austin Reed brand and appointed Yellow Door to handle the £3m advertising brief last year (MW September 5, 2002).

It is likely that the relaunch of the upmarket clothing retailer will go ahead once the refurbishment of the Oxford Street flagship store has been completed later this year.

The Austin Reed group was hit by a nine per cent downturn in sales for the first four months of the year. It put the blame partly on the disruption caused by the revamp of the Regent Street store, which accounts for 18 per cent of Austin Reed selling space. For the same period last year, the group experienced a four per cent rise in sales.

The group, which also owns Country Casuals, does not intend to replace Woodward, and marketing for Austin Reed will now be overseen by newly appointed marketing manager Nicky McReynolds.

John Lewis has also been going through a process of refurbishing its stores to give them a more up-to-date look. Burkitt DDB handles advertising for the department store chain.

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