Alan Smith named chairman as business transformation begins
Childrenswear retailer Adams has bolstered its board and is changing its name as it prepares for expansion.

Former Somerfield and Robert Dyas chief executive Alan Smith has joined the retailer as non-executive chairman. Chief executive Dean Murray said Smith's experience would be invaluable as Adams goes through a period of major change.

Next week, Adams Childrens-wear Group will rebrand as Myriad Childrenswear Group to reflect its ambitions to become the 'world's first choice for kidswear creating a house of kids' brands'. Store fascias will remain unchanged. Myriad will be the holding company for brands including Adams Kids, Mini Mode, Molly n' Jack and TU.

Key components of the retailer's growth plan include the opening of more UK stores, entry into new overseas markets and the launch of more brands in addition to its existing TU products sold exclusively in Sainsbury's and Mini Mode in Boots.

Adams is also overhauling its UK estate. Group marketing director Ronny Helvey said it intends to open a further 15 stores by the end of next July, based on the blueprint of its outlet at Bluewater in Kent.

Next month, it will enter Russia with two Adams Kids store openings in St Petersburg, following its debut in Finland last month.

Adams launched its latest brand, JCB Junior, last week. The clothing line for boys aged up to four made its exclusive debut in 36 Boots stores and is likely be installed in an additional 50 Boots outlets by spring.

Adams faces fierce competition in the UK, primarily from Asda's George kids collection and Tesco. However, Helvey said group like-for-like sales were up 8.3 per cent and Adams Kids like-for-likes were up 4.3 per cent year on year.

He also dismissed speculation that Bridgepoint Capital, the biggest private equity investor in Adams Childrenswear, was considering exiting. 'All venture capitalists reach a point where they want to move on, but Bridgepoint are about three years away,' said Helvey.

Adams was originally part of the Sears empire. It was taken private in 1999.