SIMON Raper, buyer for men's fashions at Barkers, Northallerton, has been appointed fashion controller. He will now buy ladies' wear in addition to men's wear.

"This is a wonderful new challenge for me," says Simon, who has successfully introduced contemporary fashions alongside the classic menswear in the store. He has already started buying for spring 2001 with an eye to bringing more contemporary styles into the ladies fashions department.

"It will be very gradual change," he said. "We will continue to stock all our customers' favourite designer names and classic styles.

"I'm not short of advice," he added. "My wife, mother, grandmother and all the rest of my female friends and relations have been busy telling me what to stock! The departmental staff have also been very helpful. They are all looking forward to some new input and I have been able to take staff members with me on some of my buying trips."