Koray Gul has been given the sizeable task of turning around the struggling Jones Bootmaker chain, rescued from the brink of collapse earlier this year.

My sense is that Gul is a good fit for the business as its chief executive.

His background is predominantly at the value end of general merchandise retailing both with Asda and most recently heading up Andy Bond’s new Guess How Much! (GHM!) discount chain.

As such, the synergies with Jones may not be immediately obvious.

However, this is a business that critics say has lost its focus on meeting customer demands.

This being the case, Jones’ new owners, Endless Private Equity, may have made a shrewd move by drafting in someone from a ruthlessly competitive sector where brands live or die by their ability to serve the needs of shoppers.

Fast-fashion veteran

Gul made his name in retail as co-founder of the international apparel supplier chain management company GAAT, which executed the successful fast-fashion model in George Clothing and was eventually acquired by Asda in 2012.

“It is testament to Gul’s ability that Bond, with whom he worked at Asda, picked Gul to head up GHM!”

He subsequently became managing director of George Turkey before holding several director level jobs at Asda within the general merchandise division.

It is a testament to his ability that Bond, with whom he worked at Asda, picked Gul to head up GHM!, which launched last year and sells clothes from Bond’s Pep & Co chain.

Both GHM! and Pep & Co are backed by Steinhoff Group, which also owns Poundland, and Gul recently found himself without a role after the operational functions of GHM! were consolidated at Poundland’s headquarters.

Endless enthusiasm

Gul is settled with his family in Yorkshire and was keen to remain in a UK role.

He is known to be excited about the prospect of being part of the turnaround story at Jones supported by Endless, which has previously rejuvenated The Works and Bathstore businesses.

Endless has identified a focus on developing the ecommerce offer, improving product and smartening up the stores as key to Jones’ revival.

It won’t happen overnight but Gul will start with a blank page and the chance to show he can be just as successful selling aspirational merchandise as he has been shifting value wares.

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You can call Tony Gregg on 01564 796830 or email him at tony@anthonygregg.com.

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