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Matalan hurries to find chairman after securing funding

Sadiyah Ismailjee
08 June 2020

Matalan is hurrying to find a replacement chairman as John Mills announces his resignation from the retailer.

The value fashion and home retailer has appointed headhunters to find a successor to John Mills, who is also a veteran adviser to Matalan founder John Hargreaves.

For the second time, John Mills is preparing to step down from his position as Matalan’s chairman, after the retailer secured vital funds to help it survive through the coronavirus pandemic.

Mills previously held the role until 2012, before being replaced by boardroom veteran Allan Leighton. He returned to the role in 2018.

Matalan, which trades from 232 UK stores, confirmed that it had borrowed £25m revolving credit facility from the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).

Hargreaves has also agreed to subordinate £50 million of outstanding debt he was owed by the company.

Since being forced to shut its 232 stores in the UK, Matalan has deferred rent payments and offered to pay suppliers just 70% of bills for April-July, with some landlords now launching legal action to reclaim money withheld by the business.

Matalan said on Friday that it had seen sales slump in the nine weeks to May 2.

It said it “unfurloughed” over 5000 workers in an effort to support the 175 reopenings thus far.

Like-for-like store sales performance for reopened stores on the days it was trading to May 30 was 14.6 per cent ahead of last year.

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