John Lewis loses Peter Ruis, man who made it fashionable
Ruis, who turned 'fusty' store into fashion icon, jumps ship to become chief of Jigsaw
PETER RUIS, the man who turned 'fusty' department store John Lewis into a retailer synonymous with cutting-edge fashion, has announced his departure from the department store, the Financial Times reports.
Ruis became the store's fashion director in 2007 and was promoted to Buying & Brand director in 2010. He ditched its more conservative brands and turned its fashion floors into places where big names like Jaeger, Hobbs, Mango and Whistles mix with smaller, edgier brands such as Toast and Fenn Wright Manson.
Ruis is also credited with arranging the successful collaboration with designer Alice Temperley, which has been the store's fastest-selling label. Hundreds of shoppers queued outside the retailer's flagship store on Oxford Street when Temperley's collection, Somerset, was launched last autumn. The label's first day sales were eleven times higher than a typical John Lewis brand launch.
Ruis told The Observer earlier this year that his success in the fashion market was down to the recognition that shoppers of all ages want to look trendy. "Everything's ageless these days," he said.
The store's burgeoning reputation for fashion was quickly translated into profit. Fashion sales at John Lewis topped £1.1bn in 2012.
As well as clothing, Ruis's remit has included electrical goods – another key sales area for John Lewis over the past few years.
In a statement today, Ruis said: "To work with John Lewis and its proposition during a period of such dynamic change has been a wonderful privilege."
Ruis, who has also worked as an executive at Marks & Spencer, is leaving the employee-owned department store to become chief executive at the privately owned fashion chain Jigsaw.
Paula Nickolds, currently buying director for John Lewis' home division, will take over his position on 1 September.