Alison Richards, founder of furniture retailer The Pier,
has died following a long battle with cancer. Richards, who has
served as an independent nonexecutive director at Beales for the
last nine years, started her retail career as a homewares buyer
with Boots. She later joined Habitat as a toy and accessories
buyer and when the business went public in 1983 joined the board
as buying director. In 1988 she joined Pier Imports of France,
which at the time was planning to set up a UK subsidiary.
Richards opened the first UK store in Richmond in 1989. In 1991
bought out the French interested and linked the British business
with Pier One Imports of the USA – a company she eventually sold
her shares back to a short time before her illness.
In a statement released by Beales, Allan Atkins, chief executive
said, “Alison had a confident and extrovert personality
which, combined with her retail experience and entrepreneurial
style, always ensured she gave her Board colleagues forthright,
sensible, rational and, yet, uncomplicated advice.”
She was a passionate supporter of UNICEF and until last summer
was vice-chair for the board of trustees of UNICEF UK.