The Clarks group of companies has segmented its global retail and sales operations into three new business units, each with its own profit & loss accountability. Emphasizing the key function of the product in today’s market environment, the three units will take care of the group’s women’s, men’s and children’s ranges separately. The goal is basically to narrow down the SKUs in each segment for maximum efficiency and to focus marketing and merchandising around the best-sellers in each one of them.

A new management structure has been set up based on this matrix. It was completed a few days ago with the appointment of Alistair Cameron as director of the newly created women’s division. The 46-year-old executive recently resigned as general manager of New Balance for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He had previously worked for 10 years at Pentland Group where he was in charge of the Speedo brand.

Clarks also appointed a couple of months ago John Jardine, former merchandiser at Clinkards, as director of its large children’s division. It has named another industry veteran, Fred Fearn, as men’s director. He had served until last September as men’s range manager in the group’s international division, which has been abolished, after working at K Shoes and Hush Puppies.

Sarah Lynch, who headed up the former international division, has left the company. Ken Dobinson, Clarks’ former executive in charge of wholesale sales who worked with her, is now the company’s sole sales director, in charge of wholesale sales at home as well as abroad.

Cameron, Fearn and Jardine all report to Jane Wilson, a former executive of Start Rite who is running Clarks’ newly formed product and merchandising division. She was previously managing the children’s division. It was not clear at press time whether a particular person will now again be in charge of Clarks Originals.

As previously reported, Clarks posted a 2 percent drop in pre-tax profit to £74.3 million (€10.9m-$14.7m) last year, although this was mainly due to the new European anti-dumping duties on leather shoes from China and Vietnam and the start-up of its new distribution center. Turnover increased by 5.6 percent on a comparable basis to £972.7 million (€1,437m-$1,931m).