Archie Norman New M&S Chairman; House of Fraser Acquires Issa

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Image courtesy of Marks and Spencer

Archie Norman New M&S Chairman; House of Fraser Acquires Issa


While we have all heard the saying “change is inevitable,” it does seem to come faster and more regularly these days. On Friday that change came in the form of the announcement that Archie Norman will replace Robert Swannell as chairman at Marks and Spencer Group. This changeover will take effect on September 1, 2017.

“I am delighted that Archie, with his deep, relevant experience is to be M&S’s next Chairman,” Swannell stated regarding the transition. “It has been a real privilege to have served as chairman and to have worked with so many exceptional people who are so passionate about this great business. With the appointment of Steve Rowe in 2016, I am confident that we have an excellent team, well-equipped to grow and strengthen the business. I wish them all the very best for the future.”

Archie Norman

Archie Norman

As well as being a prominent businessman, Archie Norman has served as a member of the British Parliament from 1997 until 2005. Throughout his business career, Norman has served as the chairman of ITV, Lazard London and Hobbycraft. Norman has further worked with companies to transform businesses including Asda, Energis and Kingfisher – which is reportedly the hope that Marks and Spencers holds for him.

“I am looking forward to taking on the role of the chairmanship of Marks & Spencer as the business under Steve Rowe’s leadership faces into the considerable challenges ahead in a rapidly changing retail landscape,” Norman stated regarding his new chairmanship.


House of Fraser is reportedly acquiring the brand Issa London, a favourite among celebrities and royalty alike, boasting fans including the Duchess of Cambridge, Jennifer Hudson, Scarlett Johanson, and Elizabeth Hurley.

House of Fraser’s move to acquire Issa is part of the “transformational period” that the company previewed in March, which intends to focus the company on the core customers and cut back on overlap. “We want fewer but better house brands, cutting back to those with the most potential,” stated Maria Hollins, executive director of product and trading. “There was also a lot of duplication. We have focused on getting a clear product, maintaining fit across the ranges, as well as ensuring that the ranges are competitive while not compromising on quality.”

Image courtesy of House of Fraser

Image courtesy of House of Fraser

Established in 2003, Issa is a high-end label by the London-based designer Daniella Helayel, who left the label in 2013 and started a new label, Dhela, in 2017. Kate Middleton is credited with Issa’s skyrocket to success when she wore a blue dress from the label to announce her engagement to Prince William. Since that moment, the brand was in high demand, selling out of the famed blue dress the same day Middleton wore it.

“We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Issa to our portfolio of exclusive brands,” Hollins stated regarding the acquisition. “It is such an iconic premium British fashion label, with a strong reputation amongst fashion focused customers. It truly epitomises confidence for women, something which resonates well with our customers.”

Recreating the frenzy around Issa is no doubt part of the reason behind House of Fraser bringing the label into the fold and building it back up. “The design and buying team have worked extremely hard over the last 10 months to develop a range that was true to the Issa brand, by keeping the luxury element of the clothing yet offering a modern twist. Customers will recognise the iconic Issa prints which we have developed within the range as well as the iconic styles coveted by so many.”


Archie Norman New M&S Chairman; House of Fraser Acquires Issa


Written by Lillie Peterson

Lillie is a graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a bachelor's in Classics and a lifelong fascination for fashion and art. A freelance writer and artist, her hobbies include photography, design, drawing and blogging.

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