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Goodwood Festival’s Alex Williamson is surprise pick to lead House of Fraser revamp

Goodwood Festival’s Alex Williamson is surprise pick to lead House of Fraser revamp

Alex Williamson, the petrol head behind both the Goodwood Revival and Festival of Speed, has been named as the surprise pick to lead a revamp of House of Fraser department stores.

Williamson will be installed as chief executive of the venerable retail brand at the end of July, placing him in the driving seat of a planned revival of the business.

More accustomed to race cars than pedestrian traffic, Williamson will fill a role which has lain vacant since the departure of Nigel Oddy last year. Now owned by Chinese billionaire Yuan Yafei, House of Fraser will seek to turn itself around by culling the number of brands it carries, relaunching its website and doing more to target older female shoppers in a bid to arrest the decline in footfall.

House of Fraser executive chairman Frank Slevin has made it his mission to transform the investment starved retailer into a ‘lifestyle-led experience’ by offering customers access to a range of cafes, restaurants and beauty treatments alongside in-store events.

Justifying his decision to plump for Williamson Slevin said: “If you look at the Goodwood Revival, that is just the pinnacle of experience in every possible way. Alex has built a dynamic, modern and connected experience for both customers and employees whilst working to globalise the brand in ways that respect Goodwood’s rich heritage.”

Williamson has years of experience in the hospitality and leisure sectors where attracting customers was all important; including a stint as acting head of finance at Tui Travel.

House of Fraser is proposing to pull TV advertising from its media plan as part of a new 'hyper-local' marketing approach.

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