Apple has hired former Ralph Lauren executive Bridget Ryan Berman as vice-president and chief operating officer for Apple's retail operation, reports ifoAppleStore.

The report states that Berman is a 12-year veteran of Polo Ralph Lauren. She was most recently president of its retail group with responsibility for 40 domestic and 121 international stores.

Berman will work from the east coast US in New Jersey and shall report to Apple's senior vice president of retail Ron Johnson.

The recruitment of an executive with international experience shows Apple preparing itself to extend its retail operations overseas. The company will open its flagship London retail store on Regent Street in November, and other stores are expected in Japan (Osaka, due to open August 29) and also potentially in Paris and Canada.