Seven weeks after announcing Andre Reich would be stepping down as CEO, The Reject Shop (ASX: TRS) has appointed Phillip Bishop to advance the company's growth plans from 11 July.
Bishop will bring 30 years of retail experience to the role, having held senior positions at Officeworks, Harris Scarfe, Mitre 10, Myer (ASX: MYR) and Target Australia prior to his two-year stint at hardware retailer Bunnings.
The incoming executive will be replacing Clinton Cahn, the company’s CFO who has been acting in an interim CEO role following the late April departure of Reich, who joined TRS in January 2020 and led the company’s turnaround in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bishop's new gig will see him receive a fixed remuneration of $650,000 per annum plus incentives.
“In my view, there is a significant opportunity to grow The Reject Shop through better understanding its customers, continuing to evolve the product offering and continuing to expand the store network,” Bishop said.
“My retail journey started when I joined my local Target Australia store as a people greeter. Since that time, I have had opportunities to grow and develop through collaboration, creativity and innovation to make a real difference to customers in a variety of market segments.
“I’m excited to work with such a great team and I look forward to executing the turnaround strategy and delivering comparable sales growth and creating value for shareholders.”
The Reject Shop chairman Steven Fisher said he is confident Phil is the right person to lead the company as it transitions into the ‘grow’ phase of its turnaround strategy.
“Phil is an experienced retail leader with a proven record of contributing to the growth and transformation of businesses through clarity of strategy, innovation and cultural change, which has delivered value for shareholders.
“Phil’s expertise in product, customer and managing a large store network will assist to make The Reject Shop even more relevant to its customers and accelerate the company’s turnaround and growth plans.”
In conjunction with the announcement, TRS also reported it is continuing to trade in line with management’s expectations.
In the December half, TRS reported sales were down by 2.2 per cent to $424.7 million year-on-year due to government-imposed lockdowns across Australia. Profit also dipped by 9.9 per cent to $15.4 million.
The company noted a total of 47 stores in large shopping centres and CBD locations were most impacted by lockdown restrictions.
“Like so many Australians, our team continues to be challenged by the uncertainty and volatility associated with COVID-19,” Reich said.
“During the half, we endured lockdowns in almost every state, we temporarily closed certain stores due to team member absenteeism and have been dealing with unprecedented disruption right across our domestic and international supply chains, from the factory all the way to the store shelf.
“However, we were pleased to be able to continue trading throughout each State-based lockdown during the half.”
TRS renegotiated approximately 70 leases that were either in holdover or expired and said it was “pleased with the level of rent savings achieved.” The company expects to renegotiate a further 75 during the second half of FY22.
TRS is expecting to release its FY22 results in late August following the completion of an external audit.
The retailer also confirmed it is assessing an on-market share buyback, noting that if it proceeds with one, the announcement will be made within the next two months.
TRS shares were up 16 per cent at the time of publication at $3.31.
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