New chief executive Steven Round said the retailer’s strong value credentials would be maintained, but promotions would be more disciplined.
“The reliance on promotions drives ad hoc behaviour,” he said. “Promotions should be the icing on the cake, not the cake itself. We need to be part of the every week, every month experience.”
At present, promotions are understood to account for about 20 per cent of sales. Round said: “It’s about concentrating on fewer, more highly visible lines and being more cautious about giving away margin.”
Round intends to develop the positioning Robert Dyas markets already – “the really useful store”. He said there were opportunities in the distinct demographics that various types of store catered for and in categories that complemented the existing core offer.
Robert Dyas has 100 stores and a multichannel business, Thereallyusefulstore.co.uk. Despite the increasing domination of general merchandise by the grocers, Round was confident of growth if the right strategy was deployed. “We have to be more like the Vietcong than the Americans,” he said.
Private equity firm Change Capital acquired Robert Dyas for£61 million in 2004. Change Capital managing director Roger Holmes said Robert Dyas would be “a longer holding than normal”, given present market conditions and an earlier home sector downturn in 2005.
Change Capital’s fashion retail business Republic has generated sales growth of more than 20 per cent in the year to date, Holmes revealed. Like-for-like growth was between 4 and 5 per cent. “That reflects the strength of the proposition and quality of execution,” he said.