Boden CEO resigns amid consumer uncertainty warning

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Boden CEO Jill Easterbrook resigns amid consumer uncertainty warning
Boden CEO Jill Easterbrook warned the retailer has "felt the impact of ongoing consumer uncertainty in the current financial year".
// Boden CEO Jill Easterbrook to depart retailer at the end of the year
// She will have led Boden for three years
// Boden also unveiled full-year profit and sales growth

Boden’s chief executive is to leave the fashion retailer at the end of 2019 after three years in the role.

Jill Easterbrook, who previously headed Tesco’s clothing division, told the board she would like to step down and build her portfolio of non-executive directorships at other companies.

She is a non-executive director at AutoTrader, where she chairs the remuneration committee.

She will have served three years as leader of Boden by the time she departs.

Founder Johnnie Boden said Easterbrook has contributed a “huge amount” to the business.

Under her tenure, Boden’s sales and profits have grown both in then UK and abroad, and the predominantly-online retailer opened its first flagship store in King’s Road, Chelsea.

“She has helped us to grow up,” Boden said.

“She has been instrumental in building Boden for the future and driving our ambition as an international, digital first, multi-channel business.”

Easterbrook will stay until the end of 2019 to assist with a smooth transition, while finance boss Paul O’Leary will become chief operating officer.

The announcement came as Boden released its results for 2018 and warned that the tough retail environment is likely to impact profits this year.

Sales were up 10 per cent in the year to December 31 at £383 million.

Pre-tax profit rose to £30 million, driven by a good performance in the US where sales skyrocketed more than 850 per cent to £145 million.

However, Easterbrook warned that Boden has “felt the impact of ongoing consumer uncertainty in the current financial year”.

“This macro environment and our continued investment is likely to have a negative impact on profitability this year,” she said.

“However, we are continuing to grow and believe that we have the foundations in place to build on our strong brand.”

Sales in the first half of 2019 rose four per cent but higher levels of discounting held back performance in the US.

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