Lombok has promoted retail director Stuart Lewis to the position of managing director, replacing William Landale, who takes up a non-executive position at the furniture retailer.
Lewis, who was hired in May by new owners Privet Capital, joined Lombok from Tesco where he was the capability manager for the Manage Store Labour Programme across the international arm - comprising 14 countries - and he led a team of business managers. He also held roles at Marks & Spencer, where he worked for nine years.
The change comes after Retail Week revealed (May 14) that Privet planned to sell the furniture business in the coming months. The retailer would not comment on a potential sale.
Lombok said it delivered double digit like-for-like growth in the six months to July 31, after “focusing on the basics”. Landale said last year’s soft comparables also helped the sales increase.
Landale, who still has a “material interest” in Lombok, said that he had stepped down for “personal and professional” reasons. He added: “It’s a good time to bring in a fresh head.”
Lewis will focus on operational execution and newness. He plans to expand the accessories offering and revamp shops, after refreshing the flagship Tottenham Court Road store in London. Lewis said he had “already seen an improvement in sales” as a result.
He said that Lombok would take a “cautious” approach to expansion in the UK but did not rule out opening internationally.
Lewis added: “We have an extremely successful web platform, and we’ll focus on that. We want to broaden the customer base geographically. We’ll be a bit more aggressive in the marketing and how we execute promotions. There’s an opportunity ahead of the VAT rise and we’ll definitely look to capitalise on that.”
Lewis said he intends to build the confidence of store sales teams so that they know the business is “absolutely re-emerging”.
But he cautioned: “It will be a challenging year ahead.”
Lombok was one of the many furniture retailers to tumble in the recession. It fell into administration in July last year before being bought by Privet.