// ScS names Steve Carson as group CEO, to replace David Knight when he retires July next year
// Carson most recently worked as group MD of Holland & Barrett and also held senior roles at Home Retail Group
// Like-for-like sales increased by 15% between July 26-Nov 1, but second lockdowns saw a 65% drop in early Nov
ScS has revealed that former Holland & Barret boss Steve Carson will become its new group chief executive next year, as it reports quarterly trading in line with expectations.
Carson will join the furniture retailer on January 6 for a period of handover ahead of current chief executive David Knight’s planned retirement in July.
Carson left Holland & Barrett in January, nine months after he was promoted to the role of group managing director.
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Before that that, he was the health and wellness retailer’s UK managing director for about a year.
Other career highlights include a number of roles at Home Retail Group, which once owned Argos, Habitat and Homebase.
Carson latterly served as director of retail and customer operations and a board member from 2014-2018, during which Home Retail Group was acquired by Sainsbury’s – where Steve had begun his career.
“Finding a successor to a CEO as capable and long-serving as David has not been easy but I believe that, in Steve, we have found an executive with the right mix of experience, skills and personality to take the group forward,” ScS chairman Alan Smith said.
“This early appointment will allow Steve ample time to meet all the ScS team and understand the company’s approach to its customers.”
Meanwhile, ScS reported a positive start to its new financial year, with like-for-like order intake rising 15 per cent from July 26 to November 1.
However, like-for-likes dropped by 65.2 per cent in the three weeks to November 21 due new lockdowns in England and Wales that were brought on by the second wave of the pandemic.
In a statement ahead of its AGM, ScS said trading during the second lockdowns have been in line with expectations and similar to that of the first UK-wide one during spring, where the majority of customers waited until its stores re-opened to enable them to test products before making a purchase.
However this time around, ScS’s regional distribution centres have remained operational and continue to deliver goods to customers.
Looking ahead, ScS said: “Whilst it is too early to provide clarity on the outlook for the weeks and months ahead, we are encouraged by the trading pattern the group experienced following the first lockdown, when the business benefited from significant pent up demand and an increased level of investment by UK consumers in their homes.
“Whether this trend repeats itself following the second lockdown remains to be seen, however, the Group has built a strong balance sheet and has worked hard to ensure it is as resilient as it can be.”
As of November 21, ScS’s cash balance totalled £113 million, with no debt, and further liquidity available through a £20 million CLBILS revolving credit facility.