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Michael Hill appoints new chief customer officer

michael hillJewellery firm Michael Hill has appointed Vanessa Brennan as its chief customer officer.

Brennan joins the jewellery retailer with over 22 year’s experience in strategic marketing and communications gained in Australia, Europe, Latin America and Asia, with former roles including as managing director of Clemenger BBDO Brisbane, general manager of marketing for Terry White Chemists.

Currently a partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) where she has led the Customer Transformation and Insights practice for PwC for Queensland, Brennan is also a member of the national PwC CMO Advisory practice.

As CCO, Brennan will hold an enterprise role across customer, brand, marketing, e-commerce and insights.

Meanwhile Michael Hill has set its sights on growth in its branded jewellery, which it says will hit 40 per cent of the company’s total jewellery sales by 2020

Speaking at the company’s recent AGM, Michael Hill chairman Emma Hill said the retailer “loves the learnings that new markets bring to us.”

“They help us strengthen our core and build a more defendable proposition. For example our North American experience has fuelled greater differentiation in our jewellery ranges. Designing unique collections, which are different from any other jewellers, is now a key strategy for the group worldwide,” she said.

In its Australian division, Michael Hill posted “modest” same store sales growth of 1.2 per cent in what the jeweller described as a “tough retail market” in its full year results. Overall Michael Hill reported a record EBIT result for the company of $48.1 million.

Looking ahead, Michael Hill said it will prioritise same store sales growth in all markets through a continued focus on selling skills and productivity improvements.

There are 10 new Michael Hill stores planned for the current financial year, while there will be “likely adjustments” to subsidiary brand Emma & Roe’s model in the second half.

The retailer also said it will testing “other retail formats such as clearance stores, and assess and consider other channels such as Amazon.”

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