Feb 19, 2018
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Tesco UK boss to become N Brown chairman

Feb 19, 2018

N Brown will soon get a new non-executive director and chairman with Tesco’s UK boss taking up the role at the omnichannel fashion retailer on May 1.

N Brown's Simply Be is a very active campaigner for size diversity and made a splash at London Fashion Week over the weekend

Matt Davies is leaving the supermarkets giant following its multi-billion-pound takeover of Booker Group and will succeed Andy Higginson at N Brown.

The company owns the JD Williams, Simply Be, Jacamo and Figleaves brands and has built a strong business in key specialist areas from the 50-plus age group to larger sizes (for both women and men) and intimates.

Senior independent director Ron McMillan, who led the selection process, said:  "Having conducted a thorough process it was clear that Matt was the best fit to be our next Chair. He has huge experience of retail and online businesses and will be a strong addition to the N Brown board, bringing knowledge, leadership and customer focus."

Davies, who is 47, will be one of the youngest chairmen of a UK FTSE 350 listed company and will join after an executive search that has taken several months. He has previously held the top job at Halfords and Pets at Home.

Davies joined Tesco in 2015 at a tough time for the firm when it was reeling from an accounting scandal and intense conception from low-priced chains such as Aldi and Lidl. That competition hasn’t gone away but Tesco is seen as being in much better shape today than it was on his arrival.

N Brown has had its own challenges but has weathered the difficult UK retail market relatively well. It has a market cap of around £535 million and employs over 2,600 people. That said, its market cap was higher just a  few weeks ago with it losing £130 million in value after news that its margins were under pressure over the Christmas trading period.

The Christmas trading news was received badly by investors, perhaps unfairly, as the firm had also reported rising sales, strength at its power brands and a new e-tail deal with Zalando.

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