Baby Bunting Group (ASX: BBN) has hired former Afterpay executive Mark Teperson as its new top boss, with the retail and fintech veteran to take on the role from 2 October 2023.
Teperson joins Melbourne-based Baby Bunting after a three-year stint at buy-now pay-later (BNPL) giant Afterpay, where he was global product and chief strategy officer.
Prior to that role had had spent 11 years in various senior roles within footwear retailer Accent Group (ASX: AX1) after it acquired the company he co-founded, omni-channel retailer Shoe Superstore, in 2009.
Teperson will take home a fixed annual salary of $850,000 in addition to a sign-on grant of 467,289 rights under the company’s long-term incentive plan. He will also have the chance to make up to 100 per cent of his annual salary as part of the group’s short-term incentive plan.
His appointment comes three months after the company announced current CEO Matt Spencer would be stepping down from his role after 11 years.
“I am thrilled to be joining the team at Baby Bunting. The company has achieved a lot and has set solid foundations for an exciting journey ahead,” said Teperson, who entered the world of retail two decades ago as a general manager of kids' shoes store Shoes & Sox, before co-founding Shoe Superstore at the age of 22 in 2005.
“As I lead the business into its next phase of growth, I am fuelled by excitement. Returning to the world of retail, I am laser-focused on delivering unparalleled experiences and products and services that will truly captivate our customers.
“Being part of an organisation with a strong purpose and a leading omni-channel offering is a tremendous privilege. Together, we will create a world-class consumer experience making a lasting impression in the industry."
Baby Bunting chief financial officer (CFO) Darin Hoekman has been appointed interim CEO from 2 June 2023. He will return to his role after Teperson comes on as CEO in early October.
Baby Bunting chair Melanie Wilson adds that Mark is a passionate retailer who has delivered significant growth and innovation in previous roles.
“Mark brings deep omni-channel retail experience, passion for the consumer and relentless pursuits of excellence. The board and I look forward to working closely with him as we drive the next phase of growth for Baby Bunting,” Wilson said.
“I would also like to acknowledge and thank Matt Spencer for his leadership and his commitment to ensuring a smooth handover. The organisation he has helped to build and the impact he has had on the company’s strategy, structure and operations leave Baby Bunting well placed for continued success.”
Teperson’s appointment comes three months since Baby Bunting announced a 66.7 per cent slump in statutory net profit to $2.7 million for the first half of FY23, despite a 6.6 per cent increase in revenue to $254.86 million.
The group’s bottom line was impacted by a $10.3 million increase in business costs due to the opening of five new stores during the half-year as well as expenses in establishing the business in New Zealand.
In-store sales, which account for 80 per cent of total sales, performed strongly during the period, rising by 12.2 per cent, driven by the core nursery essentials category.
Online sales were up 6.5 per cent as consumers went back to pre-pandemic shopping habits. Baby Bunting says “click and collect” sales were down 30.2 per cent compared to the previous corresponding period – but they are still up 225 per cent over the past three years.
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