Speciality Retail Group managing director Nick Keyte has left the business, following the completion of its merger with stablemate BMB Group.
Keyte left the business last week and it is thought he does not have another role to go to. He was promoted to the Speciality Retail Group role in May last year from buying director.
The two fashion groups completed their merger this month under a newly created holding company, Baird Group, located in BMB’s Leeds head office.
Baird Group chief executive Peter Lucas said that Keyte’s exit was a real “loss” to the retailer. “I wish him well. He is a real talent,” he said. He added that the new structure meant there was not a role that Keyte wanted to take up.
Speciality Retail Group was bought by Egyptian supplier Arafa Holdings in March last year, which already had a majority stake in BMB.
The merger resulted in 50 job losses as most of the roles in HR, distribution, finance and warehouse were consolidated to cut costs.
Lucas said the merger was necessary in order to make the group profitable and efficient, adding: “We have to compete on cost base and we are not going to turn it [SRG] around in the current climate as I wanted to.”
Baird Group estimated it will have a turnover of about £250m this year. It has 600 concessions and 92 standalone stores, plus wholesale accounts in the UK and internationally. It operates Speciality Retail Group brands Suits You, Racing Green and Young’s Hire. The Young’s Hire business will continue to be run out of Borehamwood in Hertfordshire.
Mark Cotter has become group managing director of the combined business and will run all the buying, merchandising and retail aspects.
Lucas said trading has remained tough. “I don’t think we will see upward movement until the last quarter of this year. It will be a long time before we get back to the levels of early 2008.”