Darren Blackhurst is starting today as the new CEO of value fashion retailer Matalan, the company has confirmed.
Blackhurst joins from leading supermarket chain Asda where he held the position of Chief Merchandising Officer and he has a wealth of retail experience having previously worked in domestic and overseas roles for Tesco.
Paul Gilbert who had been filling in as acting CEO will remain on the retailer’s board as one of its main directors.
John Mills, Chairman of Matalan, commented: ““We are delighted to strengthen our management team with Darren’s appointment, who brings with him extensive experience in value retail.
“I would also like to thank Paul for his role in overseeing the business in recent months.
“It is a difficult retail environment, however our product offering continues to provide customers what they want at great value, and this has been proven by our number of new customers increasing.”
Former Matalan CEO Alastair McGeorge left the homeware and clothing firm last November after four years in the role and has since become the new Executive Chairman of fashion retailer New Look.
Disappointing Christmas trading, when sales fell 4.5 per cent year-on-year, shows the difficult market conditions that Blackhurst must now combat but he is confident that the future looks bright for the firm.
Blackhurst said: “Matalan is a great business that has significant potential for further growth to develop its product offering and store network.
“I am joining a recognised value brand that couldn’t be more relevant to customers in the current economic conditions, and I am excited about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”
Another significant appointment at Matalan in recent months was the hiring in March of former Sainsbury’s director Adrian Mountford as the company’s new Commercial Director.
Mountford has hugely relevant experience for the role having been responsible for the development of the TU clothing brand at Sainsbury’s, as the grocer’s Business Unit Director for General Merchandise.
Mills added: “With Darren and Adrian’s appointments we have strengthened our management team to take Matalan through to the next stage of development.”