Furniture giant Steinhoff UK is restructuring the group into separate businesses, resulting in the scrapping of the Steinhoff UK chief executive role.
Ian Topping is to stand down from the position, and instead take up the role of chairman of the group’s manufacturing division.
Steinhoff UK, owned by South African homeware giant Steinhoff, will split into three independent divisions - Beds Retail, which comprises Bensons for Beds, Sleepmasters and Bed Shed; Furniture Retail, which includes Harveys and Reid; and Cargo. Across the chains, the group operates about 500 stores.
Beds Retail will be headed up by former Sleepmasters managing director Allan Williams. Bensons for Beds managing director Bill Carrahar left the business last month.
Furniture Retail will be led by former Dixons director Stephen Campbell, who joined as Harveys managing director in January.
Cargo will continue to be led by managing director Clive Gilbert.
Each divisional managing director will now report into Sean Summers, director of retail operations, Steinhoff International.
One source said the move fits in with Steinhoff International’s general approach to devolve authority.
The move comes as Cargo abandons its trial of selling homewares from German home retailer Butlers.
Cargo had been trialling selling Butlers products in its stores in St Albans, Ealing and Redhill, from November. The stores traded under the fascia Butlers by Cargo.
But all stores were this month branded back to Cargo. One source said the effect on sales was “broadly neutral” so both parties decided not to roll out. However, it is understood wider discussions between the two parties were taking place involving a potential acquisition, but any such plans have now been shelved.
Butlers, which has 140 stores worldwide, made a play for the UK market, but scaled its UK operations back in 2008. It now has just two stores in Kensington and Islington.
However, it is thought the retailer has ambitions to open shops again, and is eyeing 2,000 sq ft stores in shopping centres and on high streets in the southeast. Property agent Harper Dennis Hobbs is advising.