Scottish fashion tycoon Iain McGeoch has stepped down as chairman and chief executive of M&Co after more than 50 years at the helm.

  • Iain McGeoch succeeded by son Andy
  • M&Co veteran will take “active” non-executive role
  • Comes as M&Co unveils full-year EBITDA of £6m

McGeoch clocked up more than half a century in charge at the family-owned value fashion retailer, which he built up alongside his brother Lennie from six pawnbroking shops into a 280-store clothing chain.

McGeoch’s son, Andy, will succeed him as chief executive. His other son, Neil, has also joined the M&Co board as property director. Steve Knott will take on the role of chairman.

M&Co said Iain McGeoch “will continue to take a very active role” at the retailer in a non-executive capacity.

Andy McGeoch joined M&Co 12 years ago and has worked across various areas of the business, while brother Neil, a qualified chartered surveyor, has been at the retailer for five years. He also leads the group’s renewable energy division.

New chairman Knott has previously worked at Burton, BHS and served as managing director at HMV Europe, Waterstones and World Duty Free.

The changes at the top were revealed as M&Co unveiled an EBITDA of £6m for the year ending February 20, a near 50% drop on last year’s £11.9m figure. It reported an operating profit of £1m despite “challenging” trading conditions during its second half.

The retailer said comparisons with last year’s figures are “negatively impacted” by a one-off credit of £4.75m in 2013/14, which resulted from the closure of the group’s defined benefit scheme.  

Total sales during the period rose 1.3% on the year as net turnover hit £160.4m, up from £158.3m in 2013/14.

Online sales “continue to grow strongly”, M&Co added.

‘Encouraging’ signs

New boss Andy McGeoch said he was “pleased” with the figures and revealed trading had been “encouraging” during the first half of the current financial year.

“In the current financial year, our first half results show an encouraging +90% year-on-year growth in operating profit together with both increased sales and gross margin. This represents our best opening half in the last five years,” McGeoch said.

“The strategic focus of our business remains on delivering quality, contemporary product that represents great value and best-in-class customer service. We continue to invest heavily in ‘customer insight’ to understand intimately our customers and tailor our offer to meet their needs.

“Web sales continue to grow with the brand offer now reaching a UK and global customer audience outside of our store catchment areas. We are developing our ecommerce strategy to complement our store base with a full omnichannel proposition.”