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ARA announces appointment for newly created role

Australia’s retail body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has appointed retail sustainability specialist Jason Robertson to the newly created role of director for sustainability and impact.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said sustainability is one of the greatest challenges facing the retail sector and broader community, and Robertson will help strengthen ARA’s focus in this key policy area.

“Jason is one of the country’s most experienced retail sustainability experts and he will work closely with ARA members to advise and advocate for their needs and help deliver positive change for the community and environment,” Zahra said.

Robertson, who spent 12 years at David Jones including as head of social responsibility and sustainability, will lead the development of a sector-wide sustainability and social impact strategy to drive momentum within the space. He will also serve as the inaugural chair of the ARA Sustainability Advisory Committee.

“We have a great foundation to build upon, with 75 per cent of our major members and 50 per cent of our large members with established sustainability programs in place,” Robertson said. “We want to leverage all that great work and intend to help all our members become more sustainable and to use the collective weight of Australian retailers to drive positive sustainability outcomes across the sector.”

Accent Group announces management shakeup 

Apparel firm Accent Group said Australian billionaire Brett Blundy will rejoin its board after resigning last year and current chief executive Darren Todd will join the group as Accent’s lifestyle’s group general manager.

Accent Group has entered into an agreement to buy up the Glue Store and Next Athleisure businesses for $13 million which will see the company take control of Glue Store’s retail business, and the wholesale and distribution business of Next Athleisure, which owns brands such as Nude Lucy, Beyond Her, Lulu & Rose, Article One, and distributes Superga, Ellesse, Le Coq Sportif, Kappa, K-Way, Sebago and Napapijri.

Under Accent Group, Next Athleisure will be transformed into a new division named Accent Lifestyle. Current chief executive Todd will become Accent Lifestyle’s group general manager.

Blundy continued to provide advisory services through a private arrangement with Accent Group, but will become a non-executive director of the business effective Friday.

“We are very pleased that Brett has rejoined the Accent board,” said chairman David Gordon.

“Brett’s considerable experience acquired over many years of building and growing successful vertical branded businesses, particularly across apparel and accessories, will provide strategic insight and direction as Accent Group accelerates its strategy to grow both owned vertical brands and a strong presence in the youth and street apparel market.”

Valentino appoints CEO for Greater China

Italian luxury house Valentino has appointed Mitchell Bacha as chief executive for Greater China. Bacha, who was CEO of Diesel Asia Pacific, will now be in charge of Valentino’s retail channel and online business. He will also continue to raise the brand’s profile in the region and strengthen its e-commerce presence.

Since the pandemic, European luxury brands have been focusing on providing immersive brand experiences within the Chinese market, and Valentino is one of those brands. Before joining Diesel, Bacha was also Celine China’s managing director.

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