Case Study

Harvey Nichols – Driving strategic growth with digital investment

A row of white mannequins.

In Summary

Considered the UK’s premier luxury fashion retailer, Harvey Nichols has been a beacon on the retail landscape since first opening its doors in Knightsbridge in 1831. Over the decades, the privately owned company has diversified its offerings, with new stores, hospitality function and international outposts. Harvey Nichols has a strong brand but is operating in an increasingly tough retail environment. After many years of trading, the company wanted to grow its business.

The Situation

Manju Malhotra, CEO (formally COO) at Harvey Nichols, approached BIE to find a new interim Group IT Director, who could develop and oversee a business change strategy driven by technology.

Armed with the brief, BIE found the ideal person for the role: Richard Steward, a consummate professional CIO with profound IT and business leadership experience and a track record of adding value to businesses by driving digital change innovation, whilst strengthening and running business IT operations.

The Solution

Initial analysis of the business confirmed that online was the growth opportunity. Richard made an immediate impact by formulating a 3 year business change plan to enable online business growth, including a 50% YOY increase in investment to deliver the first year of the plan, while reducing operational risk and removing short term operational constraints.

This investment allowed Richard and his team to drive through the business change agenda. The level of change in the first year of the plan was huge and impacted most areas of the business, with implementations scheduled around peak trading periods.

Strategic changes to grow the business included: replatforming the website, new order management, data integration, POS, delivery integration, CRM and loyalty platforms. A five year deal was signed with Salesforce for CRM and Data Integration platforms to enable further development of Harvey Nichols’ unique customer experience.

Richard also focused on upgrading the capabilities of the IT team, ensuring their delivery had a more commercial impact. This included better user support, more modern delivery  methods, maturing processes and exploiting commercial value from the company’s data. The foundational technology services were also upgraded and the adoption of new technologies such as AI, were explored.

The Results

The transformation changes already delivered had an immediate impact, with a 50% YOY growth in online sales enabled.

BIE subsequently worked with Richard and Manju to recruit the group’s permanent IT Director. ensuring that the company’s digital transformation continued.

“The process of digital transformation that Harvey Nichols needed is helping to grow the online business and mitigate risk,” Richard commented. “By investing in this, they are securing their long-term future by enabling global business growth.”

Candidate's View

“The team at BIE are great and I would definitely work with them again. In fact, I already have helped recruit my permanent replacement and both sides of the process went smoothly. They’re helpful, flexible and easy to work with.”
Richard Steward
Richard Steward's headshot cropped to show his head and shoulders, he has short hair neatly styled and looks towards the viewer wearing a suit with a white shirt and red tie.

Client's View

"BIE was appointed as a recruitment partner in our search to find an interim Group IT Director. They invested time to understand the business, provided market insight and ultimately provided a candidate that was the right fit for the business. BIE were then asked to recruit the permanent successor to the role, which they also successfully delivered on. We have been very happy with BIE’s approach.”
Manju Malhotra, Chief Executive Officer at Harvey Nichols

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