Family-owned department store Fenwick picks ex-Lovefilm boss as chair

21 April 2021, 15:58 | Updated: 21 April 2021, 17:25

Fenwick, the family-owned department store chain, has picked a former boss of the DVD rental service Lovefilm to help steer it through the sweeping changes affecting Britain's retail sector.

Sky News understands that Simon Calver, who also had a stint running Mothercare, was announced internally this week as the successor to interim chairman Steve Barber.

Mr Calver's appointment comes days after Fenwick reopened its stores to shoppers after spending much of the last year closed because of the pandemic.

The business, which has a property portfolio worth hundreds of millions of pounds, is run by John Edgar, a former Harrods and Selfridges executive who was appointed to the chief executive's job last year.

Fenwick, which opened its first store in Northumberland in 1882, has been attempting to grow its online business during the last 12 months of lockdown-affected sales.

Mr Calver's digital expertise is said to have been a major factor in the family shareholders' decision to recruit him.

In recent months it has extended the number of clothing and furniture brands it sells in an effort to compete more effectively with rival retailers.

In a statement, a Fenwick spokeswoman said that Mr Calver brought "a wealth of experience leading retail, corporate and technology companies, and will be supporting Fenwick as we serve our customers and local communities through the pandemic recovery period and beyond".

It continued: "The board and the family would like to express their gratitude to Steve Barber, who as interim chair provided vital support throughout the significant challenges of the past year.

"He will leave in June with our best wishes for the future."