Matalan, the popular fashion and homewares retailer, is in search of a new chairman as John Mills prepares to step down from the position for the second time. Mills, who has been a long-time advisor to Matalan founder John Hargreaves, has served as chairman since 2018. This will mark his second period in the role, as he previously held it from 2007 to 2012.

To assist in the search for a new chairman, Matalan has reportedly appointed Redgrave Partners. This move comes as the company secures fresh funds to help navigate the challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Through the government’s Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Matalan has obtained a £25 million revolving credit facility. Additionally, the company has received consent from bondholders to issue £25 million of new notes. These measures aim to strengthen Matalan’s liquidity following a challenging period during the UK lockdown.

From the nine weeks ending on May 2, 2020, Matalan experienced a significant decline in revenue, with a 71% slump compared to the previous year. However, more than half of the company’s UK stores have now reopened, and it is expected that the remaining stores will resume operations from June 15.

In a statement issued on Friday, Matalan announced that over 5,000 employees have been unfurloughed to support the reopening of 175 stores thus far. The company also revealed that the performance of these reopened stores has been strong and has exceeded expectations. From the days they were trading up until May 30, 2020, like-for-like store sales were 14.6% higher than the previous year.

Later this month, Matalan will release its full-year results for the 53 weeks ending on February 29. The appointment of a new chairman is expected to contribute to the company’s ongoing efforts to navigate through the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis and to drive future growth.

Useful links:
1. Matalan official website
2. Coronavirus support for businesses