Key hirings follow tough Christmas
Embattled value retailer Matalan has bolstered its operational board with two key hirings.

Following a tough Christmas, when like-for-likes slumped by 5.5 per cent, the group has drafted in John Lyttle from Arcadia as buying director of clothing. Julian Grindley, whose career included a stint at Aldi, joins in the newly created role of buying and merchandise director for home.

The pair are expected to play a key role in improving performance at Matalan, which also faces the departure within months of chief executive John King.

After Christmas, Matalan blamed its disappointing seasonal numbers in part on a shift away from grey-market clothing lines and 'particularly disappointing' Christmas home gift ranges.

Teather & Greenwood analyst Sanjay Vidyarthi said the two new directors would have to address similar problems with the fashion and home offers.

'The issues in both are fundamental - product and pricing,' he said. 'In clothing they need to get the balance right between price and fashionability. In home, although a lot of people have struggled, they took their eye off the ball and weren't keen enough on pricing.'

He said because home stock is already ordered for spring, it will be autumn before changes are evident.

Lyttle, who is understood to have been placed by headhunter Heidrick & Struggles, is finalising his start date. Grindley begins at Matalan on Monday. Search firm Spencer Stuart is seeking a replacement for King.