British shirt seller pushing into luxury overseas markets

Thomas Pink, the British shirt retailer, has hired the former chief operating officer of Gieves & Hawkes as it continues its push into overseas luxury markets.

Andrew Merriman has been appointed chief financial officer of Thomas Pink by owner LVMH, the French-based luxury goods group whose brands include Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and Givenchy.

Mr Merriman, who left Gieves & Hawkes after its sale to Hong Kong’s Trinity Holdings in May, has been tasked with helping to boost its international presence.

In his new role, Mr Merriman will assist the chief executive, Jonathan Heilbron, in increasing the size of the retailer, which earlier this year announced a tie-up with Indian partner, Reliance Brands, to open shops on the sub-continent. His recruitment follows the departure of the previous CFO, who is emigrating to Australia with his family.

To lead the overseas push, in November Mr Heilbron recruited Eliot Young as international franchise and wholesale director. Mr Young has pre­viously held senior posts with Paul Smith and Tom Dixon.

Mr Heilbron confirmed the appointments, saying: “We have been growing internationally for a number of years now as we confirm our position as the leading international luxury shirt brand.” Thomas Pink specialises in men’s shirts and ties but has a growing presence in women’s shirts, as well as selling cuff­links, scarves, gloves and nightwear.

Named after an 18th century Jermyn Street tailor who designed the iconic red hunting coat, the retailer was founded by three Irish brothers James, John and Peter Mullen in 1984 and has grown under LVMH’s own­ership to approximately 100 shops in the UK and beyond.

International outposts include stores in Washington DC, Dubai, Hong Kong, South Africa and Australia.

It is believed the recruitment of the two men is linked with a desire by LVMH management to focus the Pink brand on wealthy Asian markets.

In the UK, Pink made pre-tax profits of £1.58m in 2011 on sales of £33.9m.