Bensons for Beds has appointed a new chairman and strengthened its executive team in a bid to drive the business’ profitable growth.

The beds specialist has appointed former Maxeda DIY executive Chris Howell as its new chair.

Howell has been working with the business in an advisory capacity for several months and will work closely with chief executive Mark Jackson and chief financial officer John Sidebotham.

The retailer has also recently appointed former Sleepeezee chief executive Joe Wykes as chief operating officer.

Jackson told Retail Week that Bensons, which was bought out of administration by turnaround firm Alteri last month, plans to streamline its store estate by approximately a quarter over the next two years, from 242 stores down to approximately 180.

The retailer shuttered 24 stores with immediate effect after being bought out of administration and Jackson says there are a further 110 “with a question mark” over them, depending on negotiations with landlords.

Jackson said Bensons for Beds is “massively over-rented as well as over-spaced” across its operation. As a result of this, alongside planned store closures over the next 24 months, the retailer will reduce its number of head offices from eight down to two and its number of warehouses from seven down to three, and consolidate its own-brand manufacturing to one site, down from three.

Bensons stablemate Harveys was not bought out of administration in the rescue deal, which Jackson said will make the business much more sustainable and profitable in the longer term.

Bensons received a £25m cash injection from Alteri as part of its pre-pack deal, which has gone to reinstating credit insurance with suppliers. 

The retailer will also unveil a replatformed website later this month to monopolise on online growth, which surged during lockdown. 

“This is a good business with a bright future, and we’ll emerge from our restructuring refocused, resilient and ready to press ahead with our transformation plans,” said Jackson.