Whittard of Chelsea has appointed Brian Iles to head of retail as it looks to open more London stores and break into travel retail - three and a half years after it was bought out of adminstration.

Having most recently been area manager at Fat Face and before that at Starbucks, Iles had experience that made him particularly well-suited to the role, Whittard said.

“He is passionate about hot drinks, knows a lot about tea and coffee and has valuable fashion experience - we have an affinity with fashion in terms of the visual appeal of products and how they’re displayed,” said Whittard MD Sara Halton.

Iles will be tasked with making sure that Whittard takes full advantage of the Jubilee and Olympics. Iles will also look for new retail sites in central London.

“Our central London stores have been very successful for us and we’re keen to expand further - I’d like to be in Canary Wharf, for example,” said Halton.

Of its 74 stores in the UK, Whittard currently has seven in central London at various locations including Oxford Street, Regent Street and Covent Garden.

In addition to expanding the London estate, Whittard is looking to break into travel retail by opening shops in airports and, potentially, at St Pancras station for Eurostar passengers.

Halton recently travelled to Paris on the Eurostar to scout out the opportunity and Iles has experience developing airport stores in his previous role at Fat Face.

Whittard had 130 UK stores in 2008.