Bensons for Beds managing director Bill Carrahar is to step down from the retailer after five years in the role.
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Carrahar, who joined the Homestyle-owned retailer in December 2005, is credited with building Bensons from a regional to a national chain. He will step down next month. Carraher said he had decided to leave because his 200-mile daily commute had begun to take its toll. The retailer does not yet have a replacement.
He said: “It has been a fantastic five years, trading through some difficult economic times but, with the help of a truly talented team of people, we’ve established Bensons as a leading national bed retailer.
“I’m extremely sorry to be leaving but, after five years of commuting some 200 miles a day, the time has come to find a challenge nearer to home. I leave knowing that we have a great team in place to continue taking the Bensons brand forward.”
His departure comes at a time of tough trading conditions across the sector. In January Homestyle, parent of Bensons for Beds and other chains including Harveys, revealed a 19% fall in profits in the year to June 26. Pre-tax profits for the group, which is owned by South African homewares giant Steinhoff, dropped to £26.7m in the year, down from £32.9m the year before.
The retailer blamed adverse weather conditions in the peak period of January 2010, the VAT increase and higher freight costs.
Carrahar, who was in furniture manufacturing before joining Bensons, built the retailer’s profile through TV advertising campaigns, and introduced motivational roadshows to create a more open, collaborative working environment.
He also introduced several new brands, including Silentnight and Sleep to Live.
In addition, he set up a sales incentive scheme for support staff working in warehouses, the national support centre and store staff.