Harvey Nichols raids M&S to support expansion plan

Harvey Nichols has poached Marks & Spencer’s top womenswear PRO as the chic department store steps up its international expansion.

Peter Robinson will have an advisory role to international stores, including a Dubai branch opening this month and another opening in Istanbul in September. A further store is planned for Bristol in 2008. In-house teams and possible agency support will be recruited locally as new stores open.

Harvey Nichols opened its first overseas store in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in May 2000. 

Robinson will report to Harvey Nichols marketing communications director Julia Bowe, overseeing an in-house team of three in London, with responsibility for PROs at stores in Leeds, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester and Dublin.

Bowe said Robinson's task was 'to maintain Harvey Nichols's position as a world leader in fashion and lifestyle retailing, and to maintain our exclusive brand positioning as more stores open'.

Robinson will replace Richard Gray as head of PR in February. Gray has worked in the Harvey Nichols press team for five years and is leaving to become a journalist.

As senior press officer at M&S, Robinson oversees a team of four PROs and reports to head of product PR Tania Littlehales. M&S is recruiting for a replacement.

Robinson joined M&S four years ago from fashion agency Kim Blake PR, whose clients included Whistles and Etam. He was previously at Lee Publicity – – then called Lee and Knight PR – for five years.

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