Retail group Darty, formerly operating as Kesa Electricals which owned electricals retailer Comet, has reported flat like-for-like (LFL) sales for its first quarter as it announces the departure of its CEO Thierry Falque-Pierrotin.
On a local currency basis, total revenue increased 1.1 per cent in the 13 weeks to July 31st 2012, the same date that the Darty name was fully rolled out as part of a rebranding move in the hopes of boosting sales.
Yesterday, it was reported that Falque-Pierrotin faced the wrath of investors due to an error by the company which saw the chief awarded shares which were not subject to performance criteria, despite assurances to the contrary.
Falque-Pierrotin started at Kesa in 2009 following his work at French retailer PPR, and The Guardian reported yesterday that “the company confessed to the error last month when it told the stock market that it had erroneously stated that performance criteria linked to total shareholder return, a measure of shareholder performance, were linked to awards of shares intended to compensate the chief executive for €775,000 (£620,000) forfeited when he left PPR.”
Outside of this controversy, multichannel investment proved fruitful for the group as online sales were boosted by nearly 12 per cent on the same period last year, representing 13 per cent of total product sales.
Across its French-based operations, Darty saw total sales decrease 1.2 per cent while LFL sales fell 2.5 per cent, which is “broadly in line with the market” according to the retailer.
Looking ahead, a statement from the retailer drew attention to the struggles facing the electricals sector as consumers avoid non-essential spending.
The statement said: “As with other companies in this sector, we face very tough trading conditions, with depressed consumer confidence and structural changes within the market.
“The aim is to put in place the right strategy and business model, building on the strengths of our brands and market positions to create long term success.
“As usual trading will overall be more weighted towards the second half of the financial year and we expect to benefit from weaker comparatives as the year progresses.
“Recruitment of new non-executive directors has begun and as we announced separately today Thierry Falque-Pierrotin will leave the company by mutual agreement on completion of the review in December and we have commenced the search for a new Chief Executive.”