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Senior team reshuffle at TFG London as it reports strong first half

Lauretta Roberts
14 December 2018

TFG London, owner of womenswear brands such as Whistles, Hobbs and Phase Eight, has announced a number of changes to its top team including the exit of Hobbs CEO Meg Lustman.

As part of a management restructure TFG is appointing a managing director to each of its key divisions. Simon Pickering, formerly buying and merchandising director of House of Fraser, will join the South African-owned group as managing director of Phase Eight.

Whistles managing director Justin Hampshire will transfer to Hobbs which has led to the promotion of Whistles brand director Helen Williamson to the role of managing director. Hampshire had been MD at Whistles for three years and prior to that was CFO. Before joining Whistles he was COO at Crew Clothing.

Williamson has been with Whistles for almost four years, prior to which she was buying and merchandising director at Hobbs and held the same role at Ted Baker before that.

TFG London CEO Ben Barnett said of the appointments: “Justin and Helen have been instrumental in driving the growth of the Whistles brand since its acquisition by TFG London in March 2016, and I am delighted to welcome them into their new roles within the Group."

The restructure has led to the departure of Hobbs CEO and fashion retail veteran Meg Lustman who is stepping down to explore non-executive roles with the sector. Lustman has a wealth of experience which takes in senior roles at John Lewis and the Aurora Fashions Group.

News of the restructure comes with the announcement of the group's first-half results to 30 September in which it reported sales of £200.4m, up from £133m in the prior year. Total sales, including Hobbs, were up 50.7% while like-for-like sales were up 2.3%. All brands achieved double digit growth online.

However the results also revealed the significant impact of the collapse of House of Fraser. EBITDA for the period dropped by 7% to £13.7m after a £2.5m write-off of the department store's debt.

“The strong first half performance at TFG London, achieved in a tough trading climate, has been achieved through a relentless customer focus, with the successful delivery of conversion initiatives across our online channels and with greater breadth and depth of stock availability,” Barnett said.

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