New Carpetright chief executive Darren Shapland said the retailer is “in a good shape” for the coming years as he prepares to steer it through continued tough trading conditions.
Speaking exclusively to Retail Week as it was revealed he would become chief executive from Monday, Shapland said he will not take up the role at the retailer - which has issued a stream of profit warnings - with a specific “24-week plan” to transform it.
“We need to really understand how do we get through the tough times as best we can and how do we ensure when customers come back we are well-placed to take advantage of them,” he said. “We’re not expecting consumer spending to pick up in the next couple of years.”
He said that action taken at Carpetright to keep costs tight through self-help measures have “kept its head above water in a difficult time” and he would continue that approach.
Carpetright also aims to take more market share.
The retailer has had a tough year, posting six profit warnings.
Founder Lord Harris said Shapland’s appointment was very much welcomed by the board and his son and commercial director at the company Martin, despite it being widely believed he was being groomed to succeed his father.
Shapland previously worked as finance director at Carpetright from 2002 to 2005 and has been on the board as a non-executive director since September.
“Darren has a hell of a lot of experience after working at Sainsbury’s,” he added. “He was always good when he worked at Carpetright before and we were sorry to see him leave, but we knew he’d be a great chief executive one day.”
He said Martin’s Harris’s role will remain unchanged.
Lord Harris added that although he has stepped down from the day-to-day running of the business he remains “100% committed”, working as chairman four days-a-week concentrating on buying and property.
The retailer is creating an executive committee to lead the day-to-day running of the business. It will be made up of Shapland, group finance director Neil Page and Martin Harris. Executive directors Claire Balmforth and Andy Corden will also join the committee after stepping down from the main board.