• Glassons: New 'Traveller' collection.
    Glassons: New 'Traveller' collection.

New Zealand-based childrenswear brand Pumpkin Patch has strengthened its brand management elite with a recruit from a top chain retailer, following above market expectations for the 2012 fiscal year.

The brand, which announced in January that it would be binning its UK retail operations, has now appointed Diane Humphries as its merchandise & brand director to manage the growth of the brand going forward.

Pumpkin Patch CEO Neil Cowie said Humphries, who is currently managing director of local fashion label Glassons Limited, will take on the role “once she has fulfilled her commitments to her current employer”.

“We are very excited about having someone of Di’s calibre join the team. Her exceptionally strong design, brand development, and general management expertise is well known within the industry. Di will add significant leadership capability to our senior management team,” he said.

“We are currently developing a number of longer term strategic initiatives for our brands in Australasia and international markets. To have Di’s experience on the team is a significant opportunity and will help us successfully execute those strategies and deliver much improved financial results for our shareholders in years to come.”

The announcement follows a robust market update issued by Pumpkin Patch recently which confirmed solid trading performances over the last three months, and an expected net profit (before non-recurring reorganisation costs) for the financial year ended July 31 2012 of around $10.1 million.

The figure, which the company described as “above market expectations”, was supplemented by online sales for the year which exceeded $30 million – an increase of around 50 per cent on last year, with “strong growth for both Pumpkin Patch and Charlie & Me brands across all online markets”.

However, the company has noted that the above numbers are preliminary results and are subject to external audit review, with Pumpkin Patch expected to release its audited result for the 2012 financial year next month.

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