Habitat hires MD to drive growth

Struggling home furnishings retailer Habitat has appointed a new managing director to drive bottom line profitability.

Jens Nordahl has replaced Ebbe Pelle Jacobsen, managing director of five years, with immediate effect. Nordahl has worked for Habitat's Scandinavian parent Ikano for the past decade on start-up and development projects.

Nordahl will report to Habitat chairman and Ikano chief executive officer Birger Lund.

A spokeswoman said: 'Nordahl's brief is to grow sales and improve the bottom line profitability of the business. Like any new managing director he is getting to know the business to see what we are doing right and what could be improved.'

She quashed speculation the retailer was for sale. 'Habitat is an important brand within the Ikano portfolio and receives its full support,' she said.

Habitat has 75 shops in the UK, France, Spain and Germany. There are also 12 franchise stores in Belgium, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Iceland, Ireland and Thailand.

Last month, Habitat announced its intention to standardise its store size and, following a portfolio review, to close its large Croydon outlet.

A new store will open in Lille, France this summer.

Habitat UK made a net loss of£8.4 million on sales of£121.7 million in the year to March 2002. No up-to-date figures are available and the spokeswoman was unable to comment on this year's performance.