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Matalan founder John Hargreaves returns as Chairman

Tom Shearsmith
25 July 2022

Matalan Founder John Hargreaves has returned to the fashion and homeware retailer after a 15 year absence, with Executive Chairman Steve Johnson exiting the business.

Johnson first joined Matalan in July 2020 and is also currently Chairman of Poundland, owned by PEPCO. Matalan was originally founded by Hargreaves with a stall in Liverpool in 1985 and has since grown to 230 stores in the UK and several franchise stores in the Middle East.

Hargreaves recently lost a long-running court battle over an attempt to avoid a tax bill of up to £135 million. The businessman, who is based in Monaco, has been ordered to pay capital gains tax on his sale of £231 million of Matalan shares in May 2000.

John Hargreaves, Founder and Chairman of Matalan, said: “I would like to personally go on record and thank Steve for all his invaluable leadership and contribution over the last two years. Steve joined the business in a non-executive chair capacity and I am grateful that he agreed to step into an executive role to help guide the Company through the pandemic. Nobody could have predicted the pandemic or the more recent macro-pressures affecting the retail industry.

"Matalan’s navigation of these challenges, our market share gains, and the top-line performance announced in our latest trading updates, are testament to Steve’s leadership and our colleagues’ ongoing dedication. My belief in, passion for, and commitment to our business is stronger than ever and I look forward to maximising our growth potential, along with the senior leadership team, delivering true omnichannel value for our customers. On behalf of the Board, I would like to wish Steve all the very best with his future endeavours."

Steve Johnson added:"It has been a pleasure to lead and work with all the colleagues at Matalan over these last two extraordinary years. Matalan’s great value proposition is well positioned to prosper over the coming years. I wish everyone in the business every success in the future."

Last month, Matalan announced its results for the 52 weeks ending 26 February 2022, reporting a rise in revenues from £744.1 million in 2021 to £1.03 billion in 2022. Despite a rise in revenues, the company reduced its number of employees from 11,558 in 2021 to 10,837 in 2022, mostly across retail and distribution roles.

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