Monday, July 4, 2016

News: New hires for listed Rotherham retailers

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Crawshaw Group PLC, the Rotherham-based fresh meat and food to go retailer, has appointed another senior industry figure to its management team as it continues its growth plan.


The AIM-listed firm is based at Hellaby and has set itself an ambitious target of 200 shops within eight years. The plan involves investing £200m and creating 2,500 jobs. In 2014 it announced details of the placing of new shares in a bid to raise nearly £9m to support the acceleration of its store opening programme. To deliver the plan, Noel Collett, formerly Lidl's chief operating officer for the UK business, was appointed as CEO at Crawshaw.

Now Ken McMeikan (pictured) has been appointed as a non-executive director, bringing 25 years' worth of senior retail experience. McMeikan is moving from the position of group CEO of the Brakes Group, a leading pan-European foodservice company, a position he has held since 2013. Prior to this, McMeikan was group CEO of Greggs Plc, the UK's leading bakery food-on-the-go retailer, a position he held from 2008-2013. Additionally, Ken has a combined 18 years of senior retail experience with both Tesco and Sainsbury's. 

Richard Rose, chairman at Crawshaw Group, said: "We are delighted to announce today the appointment of Ken McMeikan as a non-executive director of Crawshaw. Ken brings a wealth of foodservice, food retailing and high street experience along with expertise in business strategy development during periods of accelerated high street expansion and sales growth. We are excited by Ken's appointment and look forward to him further strengthening our senior management team during our growth phase."

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The company also updated the stock market with a trading and strategic update for the 20 weeks June 19 2016. Group sales were up 37% for the first 20 weeks of the financial year with like-for-like sales down 1.9% for the same period. The company put this down to soft retail conditions on the High Street.

The rollout plan continues with an additional eight trading stores already opened in the financial year to date, taking the portfolio to 47 stores. In June Crawshaws opened its first standalone fresh meat factory shop in West Bromwich with a second set to open in the summer. A first fresh-meat-only store on the high street, which unlocks further opportunities to expand into smaller footprint retail space, is also scheduled to open.

Noel Collett, CEO at Crawshaw Group, said: "We have made a good start to the year. Our trading performance has been in line with expectations as we effectively manage the balance of sales and margin in our like-for-like estate, and our growth strategy continues to progress well.

"In the last couple of weeks, we have seen some distorted and suppressed footfall patterns created through the combined impacts of the start of the international football championships, the adverse persistent weather and the build up to the EU Referendum. It is too early to judge if the vote to leave the EU impacts consumer confidence in the medium term, but clearly our retail format of quality fresh meat at value prices means we are well placed to delight new and existing customers with our offer should disposable income become stretched."

Rotherham-based United Carpets, the second largest chain of specialist retail carpet and floor covering stores in the UK, has appointed its operations director Paul Newton as an executive director.

Having worked in the flooring sector for some 31 years, Newton has been operations Ddirector at United Carpets since September 2011, having previously held senior executive roles in two major flooring retailers. He is responsible for the retail operations of the company's network of corporate and franchised stores.

Paul Eyre, chief executive at United Carpets, said: "We are delighted to announce the appointment of Paul and would like to welcome him to the Board. With his extensive knowledge of the Company having worked with us for some six years, we are confident of his increased contribution to United Carpets."

In 2012, the Bramley-based, AIM-listed company underwent a pre-pack administration deal. It recently reported that the improved trading performance seen in the first half of the financial year ending March 31 2016 continued into the second half of the financial year. On a like for like basis, sales for the second half increased by 6.4% against the comparable period last year.

Crawshaw website
United Carpets website

Images: Brakes

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