Hallenstein Glasson names Mark Goddard as new CEO

Goddard has 27 years of international retail experience, most recently as president and managing director of Toys 'R Us Japan

Hallenstein Glasson has named Mark Goddard as its next chief executive, replacing long-serving Graeme Popplewell who will end 46 years at the company at the end of the year.

Mr Goddard's appointment was made at the Auckland-based retailer's annual meeting in Christchurch, where chairman Warren Bell introduced the new CEO, who has 27 years of international retail experience, most recently as president and managing director of Toys 'R Us Japan. He has also held senior roles at Myer Australia, Spotlight Group Australia, and Country Road Australia.

"Mark has a comprehensive understanding of the Australian and New Zealand apparel market and a proven history in driving growth and change," Mr Bell said in speech notes published on the NZX. "He will take up his duties during the second quarter of 2017."

Mr Popplewell announced his retirement last month, ending five years in charge, which began a year after he was tapped to lead the Hallenstein menswear division. Mr Popplewell has been on the board of Hallenstein since 1985, overseeing its merger with Glasson that year, and has seen a trebling of its store footprint and expansion across the Tasman.

The retailer is coming off a tough year when a decline in the kiwi dollar made imports more expensive, squeezing its margins, while at the same time a rudderless Glassons struggled and a mild winter led to a drop in sales.

Mr Bell told shareholders unfavourable forward cover against the currency has largely been consumed and margins should improve while the appointment of Di Humphries to head Glassons has helped turn around the women's clothing chain.

Popplewell said the retailer's sales were tracking 10% ahead of a year earlier at a higher gross margin, which "is showing very strong profit growth." While he couldn't give guidance due to the importance of the Christmas trading period, he said he was confident "we will deliver a much-improved performance over last year."

The shares rose 3% to $3.06, having dropped 11% so far this year.

(BusinessDesk)