Godfreys boss exits

John Hardy steps down as vacuum retailer cuts forecast earnings due to weaker than expected sales and delays in franchise rollout.

Godfreys managing director John Hardy has stepped down after 18 months in the role.

The vacuum retailer has appointed Jason Gowie as its new chief, effective from 4 December. Gowie has also joined the Godfreys board as executive director.

It comes as Godfreys cut its forecast earnings due to weaker than expected sales and delays in its franchise rollout.

Only two or three store conversions are now expected in FY18, compared with the company’s initial expectations of more than 15 . This compares with 22 store conversions in FY17.

At the 2017 AGM in October the retailer reported first quarter FY18 sales across like-for-like stores were comparable with the same time last year.

Like-for-like store sales during October and November were weaker than expected, however, the company said it expects sales performance to improve over the Christmas and New Year trading period.

Other management changes include the appointment of Brendan Fleiter has chairman, effective from 1 January 2018, replacing outgoing chair Rod Walker.

Kathy Gramp and Penny Burke have also joined the board as non-executive directors. Burke will also chair the newly formed Customer Committee for the board that will focus on improving the customer experience and channel development.

Hardy is set to remain with the business on a part-time basis, assisting with product innovation and will also remain on the board.

Hardy returned to Godfreys in July 2016, following the departure of Kathy Cocovski after only six months in the position, having previously been at the helm for almost 30 years, from 1983 until 2010.

Fleiter said Hardy’s contribution to Godfreys and the Australian retail sector over the past 50 years is monumental.

“He stepped up for his second stint as managing director in July last year when the business needed him. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for steadying the ship over the past 18 months and providing a solid foundation for the future.”

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