Sep 11, 2020
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Matalan CEO Hargreaves steps down

Sep 11, 2020

The CEO of Matalan is stepping down after seven years in charge at the fashion and homewares value-focused retailer.


Chief executive Jason Hargreaves is the son of company founder John Hargreaves and will continue to work with the company and advise the board "in a new capacity", the firm said on Friday.

The company also said that Steve Johnson, who joined only recently as its chair, will become executive chair due to the Hargreaves move. 

He'll work with James Brown, the chief commercial officer and former Sainsbury's executive, as well as the wider leadership team to oversee the running of Matalan on a day-to-day basis.

Hargreaves said: “Now is the right time for me to step down as the CEO into my new role. Providing our customers with the best value product on fashion and home is our heartland, and re-establishing this under my leadership has been a huge achievement. The board under Steve’s leadership are now set up to continue this journey, and the recent addition of James Brown will provide the leadership on the trading floor to ensure we continue to grow from the strong base we have today.”

The executive shuffle comes after the retailer reported that revenues plunged by over 70% in Q1 as Covid-19 devastated its trading.Gross profit was down 163.2% to a loss of £23.7 million. The final loss for the period was £53.8 million, much worse than a profit of £1 million in the previous year’s Q1.

Admittedly, the first quarter was a tough one for so many retail businesses across the UK as stores were forced to close due to the lockdown. However, the company had also been struggling with profitability prior to that and in June it posted a 21.5% fall in full-year restated EBITDA to £80.3 million, even though sales rose 2.3% to over £1.1 billion. 

And while sales rose in the year, this was mainly due to online trading, with physical store sales more challenged.

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