Retail software vendor Maple Lake, which specialises in merchandise planning applications for fashion retailers, has appointed Mark Stone as managing director.

Stone previously held managing director positions at other IT companies, including Compass Software, now part of Torex Retail.

He has also held numerous IT roles working for retailers including Next, Sears and Sports Division and has helped manage major IT projects at Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser and Nike.

Bob Jolley, commercial director at Maple Lake UK, said the company needed to strengthen its management team given the significant growth of the company in the last couple of years.

Stone has a mission to increase the profitability of the company by expanding internationally, particularly in Europe.

He remains upbeat about future growth in IT spending, despite many retailers having suffered during difficult economic conditions over the last 18 months.

"Many retailers are expecting an upturn in 2010, and fashion retailers especially rely on sound IT systems to help them keep inventory and markdown costs to a minimum," he said.