Myer CEO and managing director Richard Umbers has stepped down from his role, with chairman Garry Hounsell appointed executive chairman, effective immediately, as the search for Umbers’ replacement begins.
The announcement comes after the department store reported a 6.5 per cent drop in total sales for January during the key Stocktake Sale period.
Total sales in the 1H 2018 were down 3.6 per cent to $1.72 billion, down 3 per cent on a comparable store sales basis.
In a trading update last week, Umbers said the numbers reflected challenging retail conditions.
“The significant deterioration in trading reflects ongoing challenging retail conditions with widespread industry discounting, a subdued performance of Myer’s Stocktake Sale and a continued shift in consumer behaviour characterised by reduced foot traffic and an increase in online shopping.”
Commenting on Umbers departure, Hounsell said, “We are impatient for a turnaround in the company’s performance and the board has determined that it is in the interests of all shareholders for there to be a fresh approach to drive our future direction.
“At the time of my appointment as chairman in November 2017, I said I was impatient and this announcement reflects my desire to drive, first-hand, the urgency required to deliver shareholder value.
“On behalf of the board, I thank Richard for his hard work and commitment during the past three years and wish him well for the future.”
Umbers will serve a 12 month notice period.
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