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Head of Australian retail giant to step down early after managers underpaid

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Peter Birtles, MD and CEO, of the Super Retail Group is retiring earlier than at first planned.

The head of Australia’s leading supplier of fishing tackle is leaving the company early following revelations that its retail store managers have been underpaid for six years.

The Super Retail group, owner of the BCF (Boating, Camping Fishing) group, has set aside $42.6 million to cover back pay and compensation costs to current and former employees.

Super Retail Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Peter Birtles, said: “The issue with our retail managers reflects the same problem that we recently uncovered with our Set Up team members. They are both serious underpayments that we deeply regret.

“We are very disappointed that we have let these team members down and not met our standards, and we apologise to each person affected unreservedly.

“We identified this issue after initiating a thorough review of employment arrangements across our business, supported by external experts. We are fully committed to remediating this situation. We have amended our contracts for managers to ensure their salaries appropriately remunerate them for overtime and allowances.

“Recognising the significance of this underpayment, I have offered, and the Board has accepted, that I will step down as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, effective Wednesday (February 20th).”

Birtles was due to retire on March 1st after 13 years with the group. He will be replaced by Anthony Heraghty.

Super Retail Group reported a net profit after tax for the 26-week period ended December 29th, 2018 of $71.7m, 0.7% below the same comparable period a year before.

The group’s BCF generated $281.4m in sales, 2.2% ahead of the same comparable period a year before. It said: “Pricing competition in the fishing and camping segments has been very active and BCF has strongly defended its position as the market leader.

“This has had an impact on gross margin, but is positioning the business for market share growth. At the same time, the business has increased its inventory levels to maintain a stronger in-stock position through the peak summer period.

“The increasing sales momentum demonstrates the success of these strategies and builds confidence in the potential of the business to build market share and profitability.”

 

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