High Street

The Works CEO steps down despite ‘solid’ Christmas sales

The CEO of gifts and crafts retailer The Works has stepped down from his role, despite the company reporting “solid” like-for-like sales in its latest trading update.

Kevin Keaney held the position of CEO at The Works for almost nine years, has decided to step down as CEO and from the board, effective today.

Gavin Peck, who joined The Works in April 2018 as CFO, has been appointed as his replacement with immediate effect. Before The Works, Peck held the position of commercial director at Card Factory plc where he was responsible for the commercial function alongside leadership of the commercial finance team.

Rosie Fordham, currently head of finance, has also been appointed as Interim CFO.

Keany said: “After an incredible nine years, I believe now is the right time for me to hand over to a new CEO to lead The Works through its next phase of development. Whilst this has been a very difficult decision, it feels like the right time to take a break, spend time with my family and think about what I want to do next.”

Peck added: “I am delighted to be taking on the role of CEO. The Works is a great business with fantastic colleagues providing a compelling and differentiated offering for our customers. Building on the company’s established foundations, I look forward to leading The Works in its next phase and creating value for all of our stakeholders.”

In the 11 weeks to 12 January, The Works announced an 1.5% increase in like-for-like sales in stores and online adding it experienced a “record” Christmas sales performance amid “tough comparatives” and a “difficult consumer backdrop.”

The retailer also posted its interim results for the 26 weeks to 27 October 2019 and saw a 1.9% decline in like-for-like sales. It also reported EBITDA losses of £4.3m. The Works opened in 28 net new sites, with a further 13 opened since the period end, resulting in the retailer now operating 538 stores.

Peck said he was “pleased” to report that the company delivered a “solid” performance during the Christmas trading period.

He said: “This was driven by growth in both stores and online. However, to ensure we are well placed to deliver profitable growth in the medium-term we have taken action to refocus our strategy by opening fewer new stores, with a view to driving improved performance in our existing estate and increasing our focus on cost savings.”

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