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Matalan founder returns to retailer as new chair

By Huw Hughes

25 Jul 2022


Image: Matalan

Matalan founder John Hargreaves is reportedly returning to the business after a 15 year hiatus to take on the role of chair.

Hargreaves founded the British fashion and homeware retailer in 1985 in Liverpool and also served as chair before exiting the business in 2007.

He will replace Steve Johnson who has served as chair since 2020.

In a statement seen by Retail Gazette, Hargreaves thanked Johnson and said: “Nobody could have predicted the pandemic or the more recent macro-pressures affecting the retail industry.

“Matalan’s navigation of these challenges, our market share gains and the top-line performance announced in our latest trading updates are testament to Steve’s leadership and our colleagues’ ongoing dedication.”

Strong pandemic recovery

In its most recent update for the first quarter ended May 28, Matalan reported a 29 percent increase in revenue to 286.5 million pounds, while its EBITDA post adoption of IFRS16 came in at 44.4 million pounds, up from 41.8 million pounds a year earlier.

For the year ended February 26, the retailer’s revenue increased 38 percent to 1.03 billion pounds, while it made an EBITDA post adoption of IFRS16 of 197.8 million pounds, up from 80.5 million pounds.

Despite the strong performance last year, Matalan cut 721 jobs.

Hargreaves continued: “My belief in, passion for and commitment to our business are stronger than ever and I look forward to maximising our growth potential, along with the senior leadership team, delivering true omnichannel value for our customers.”