Belfast Telegraph

House of Fraser names Alex Williamson as new CEO

Department store chain House of Fraser has hired Alex Williamson as its new chief executive following the departure of Nigel Oddy last year.

However, Mr Williamson has no retail experience, having done stints at TUI Travel, Ernst & Young and most recently at Goodwood, where he was chief executive.

The firm, which is owned by Chinese conglomerate Sanpower Group, described him as an "experienced and well-regarded business leader".

Chairman Frank Slevin added: "I am confident Alex will be able to add his perspective and skill of running the Goodwood Estate, one of the great British heritage brands, to the benefit of our continued growth.

"I am personally very pleased we have been able to attract someone with his calibre and leadership track record."

The chain was rocked last year by the departure of Mr Oddy, who quit his role less than two years in.

Mr Williamson's appointment comes at a difficult time for the retail sector, with soaring inflation, a slowing economy and declining consumer spending conspiring to dent sales.

House of Fraser last month chalked up a rise in full-year profits, but warned trading remains volatile.

The firm said pre-tax profits grew from £1.3 million to £3.4 million in the year to January 28.

Overall revenues were flat at £1.3 billion, while like-for-like sales edged up 0.9% in the period.

However, the group warned the "volatility" it saw last year has continued into 2017.