Monday 17th January 2011 5 Comments
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The Warehouse Group's chief executive Ian Morrice has told the board he wants to retire this year, the company said while hitting down speculation that Morrice is being pushed out.
The board moved today to make a public statement in support of Morrice after media speculation that he may be removed after the company reported disappointing trading results for the two months ended January 2.
"In response to speculation about the tenure of Morrice, reported in media in recent days, the board confirms that it continues to support Morrice as chief executive.
"The board is comfortable with Ian's performance and has not met to discuss this with reference to recent trading results," the company said.
During 2010 Morrice has discussed with the board his own desire to retire in 2011, but no decision has been made regarding this as yet.
Before joining The Warehouse in 2004 Morrice worked for eight years for Kingfisher plc, where he held a number of senior positions.
During his tenure at The Warehouse he has had to deal with a number of strategic issues, including experimenting with fresh food retailing and developing online shopping.
In 2009, The Warehouse had an 8.8% share of the non food retail market in New Zealand.
An announcement on succession in the chief executive role will be made in due course, as and when the matter is determined, the company said.
In 2003, Greg Muir resigned as chief executive over differences with the board about the company's direction.
Founder Sir Stephen Tindall owns 26.69% of the company and the Tindall Foundation owns 21.31%, according to the company's annual report.
On January 5, the company said that total sales for the two months ended January 2 were down 2.7% compared to the same period last year. Same store sales were down 3.8%.
Morrice commented that retail sales in general had been very soft over the key seasonal trading period.
"We expected the sector to remain difficult and highly promotionally driven over the course of our 2011 financial year but New Zealand consumers clearly remain even more focused than we predicted on strengthening household balance sheets," he said.
The company said that while it was disappointed with the trading results, they had to be assessed in the context of the difficult trading conditions for retailers generally over this period.
The Warehouse's share price was up four cents at $3.60 in afternoon trading.
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