Hallenstein Glasson has named its new CEO, following long-time CEO Graeme Popplewell’s resignation in November. The former president and managing director of Toys ‘R Us Japan, Mark Goddard, is taking over the reins of the apparel company. Goddard has 27 years of international retail experience under his belt, including senior roles at Myer Australia and Country Road Australia.
Goddard has 27 years of international retail experience under his belt, including senior roles at Myer Australia and Country Road Australia.
Popplewell will end 46 years at the company at the end of this year, but stay on the board as a non-executive director to ensure continuity.
Chairman Warren Bell gave a heartfelt tribute to Popplewell’s dedication in his address to shareholders.
“He has been instrumental in driving the reinvention of Hallenstein Brothers and Glassons during his tenure as Group CEO. Since Graeme joined the original Hallenstein’s board, the company merged with Glassons in 1985 and trebled in size – growing from 40 stores to over 120 today – including 30 Glassons stores in Australia.
“The successful Storm brand was also launched in 2005 which now has 10 stores. These trends are a reflection of Graeme’s strong stewardship during his time leading Hallenstein Glasson. He leaves the business in a strong position, with current group sales running 10 percent above the previous summer season. Glassons in particular, is showing strong results. We’re pleased that his huge knowledge of the company’s businesses will not be lost following his decision to remain on the board.”
Mark Goddard / LinkedIn
Bell said new CEO Goddard had a wide range of experience in retail, ranging from premium to specialty to value brands in the Australasian markets.
“Mark has a comprehensive understanding of the Australian and New Zealand apparel market and a proven history in driving growth and change. The board is excited by the prospect of benefitting from his wide experience. He will take up his duties during the second quarter of 2017.”
In his final address to the board as CEO, Popplewell said the timing was right for him to step down.
“As announced earlier I will be retiring at the end of this year as an executive of the company after 46 years’ service. I think that is long enough and its time for some fresh thinking to lead the business forward. As the saying goes ‘timing is everything’, and in this case I can retire confident in the knowledge that the business is in great heart and we have a key executive team that is the strongest it has ever been.”
Both Bell and Popplewell acknowledged the company’s performance for the year ending August 1. Profit after tax was $13.6 million, a decrease of 21 percent on the prior year.
Bell attributed the loss to a lower exchange rate, record mild temperatures in Australia and New Zealand and difficulty in finding the right management for Glassons.
Popplewell noted that the retail brand’s results were disappointing and didn’t show the hard work that had gone into the Glassons and Hallenstein Brothers brands.
“What I can say is that the work we have put in is now bearing fruit, and results for this new season thus far are much better than last year.”
He mentioned the new Hallenstein Brothers and Glassons in the ANZ Centre in Christchurch’s CBD as a way to stay in competition with international brands new to the market.
“I think those stores are as good as you will find anywhere in the world. And they have to be. Two months ago we faced competition from both H&M and Zara in New Zealand for the first time when both brands opened at Sylvia Park, Auckland. To meet that competition we re-built our stores and I can report performance has improved since the ‘new competition’ has opened.”
The new stores meant that Hallenstein Glasson now has dominant stores in major cities in New Zealand, including Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin and now Christchurch, he said.
He said going forward, store reinvention would be key.
“Our customers are constantly exposed to the best of the best on the internet, and our bricks and mortar stores have to meet what are increasingly high customer expectations.”
As for the company’s sales, Bell said they’re already up 10 percent on last year’s.
“The recovery in Glassons is well underway and we anticipate a much improved group profit performance for the current trading period.”