New CEO at Fishing Republic after ‘deterioration’ in sales
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Fishing Republic, the fast-growing UK-based retail chain, has made major changes at boardroom level, including the appointment of a new acting CEO, following a major decline in sales in October.
The company has reported a ‘significant deterioration’ in trading which saw its like-for-like store sales decline 13% in October, in sharp contrast to a 16% rise for the nine months up to the end of September.
This week the company announced that Steve Gross has been replaced as CEO by Chris Griffin, who will take on the role in an acting capacity. Gross will remain as Executive Director, but Zoe Gross, the Operations Director, and Paul Hagerty, the IT Director, have stepped down from the Board.
Online business has also been hit despite sales via Fishing Republic’s own website being up 116% and 24% so far this year. However, the transition from third party sales to its own website is behind expectations.
Fishing Republic added that its trading performance for the year ending December 31st 2017 will not meet market forecasts, but that the business remains cash positive and that there will be a continuing focus on driving down stock levels.
“While the company has expanded its store network during the year, the execution of the online model requires further focus and acceleration,” Fishing Republic said in a note to investors. “The Board strongly believes that the fishing tackle market is well suited to an online model with obvious efficiencies this brings in terms of returns on invested capital.”
Griffin has a strong e-commerce, retail and logistics background. He was Director of e-commerce at the SuperGroup, the owner of the Superdry brand, from 2010 to 2014, during which time online sales grew from £3 million to £60 million.
“I am looking forward to addressing the issues in the business in order to turn around its trading performance,” said Griffin. “The ongoing consolidation of the fishing tackle market provides an excellent opportunity to continue to grow the business and there is enormous scope to improve the trading performance in what should be a natural e-commerce sector.”
James Newman, Chairman of Fishing Republic, added: “The Board is delighted to welcome Chris to the company. His experience will be invaluable in driving shareholder value and improving the execution of our business plan.”