Upscale retailer Neiman Marcus Stores has promoted Ken Downing to the position of senior vice president, fashion director.

In his new role, Downing will manage the New York City fashion office of Neiman Marcus and will be based at the store headquarters in Dallas, Texas.

President and chief executive Karen Katz said: "Ken's deep understanding of our customer, knowledge of our buying organisation and relationships within the fashion community make him an excellent choice for this key position."

The position had been open since the retirement of Joan Kaner last autumn.

Ken assumed his most recent position, vice president public relations, in 1997.