Matalan chief executive Darren Blackhurst has left the business and Jason Hargreaves, son of founder John Hargreaves, is taking over.

Blackhurst, who joined as chief executive in May 2011, has left Matalan to pursue “other opportunities” as sales plunged 7.2% to £258.6m in its first quarter to May 25.

Operating profit dropped to £19.4m from £23.6m over the period.

Jason Hargreaves, who is Matalan’s seventh boss in 12 years, has been appointed managing director.

He said: “I’m very enthusiastic for the future of the company and look forward to working with everyone to deliver the opportunities that exist going forward.”

Separately, Stephen Hill has been promoted to become chief financial officer of Matalan.