Super Retail shares slide after the CEO announces his retirement

Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
  • Peter Birtles, CEO of Super Retail, announced his retirement.
  • The company is now looking for a replacement to start in the March quarter of 2019.
  • The owner of Rebel, BCF and Super Cheap Auto says all its businesses are now operating on a new digital platform.

Shares in Super Retail fell after the retail group announced at its Brisbane AGM the retirement of CEO Peter Birtles.

At the close the shares were down 11% to $8.32.

The board is now searching for a new chief executive to start when Birtles steps down in the second quarter of 2019.

The owner of Rebel, BCF and Super Cheap Auto is positioning itself for growth from digital channels rather than its bricks and mortar stores.

Bricks and mortar retailers have been hit by a shift to digital, sagging consumer sentiment and more competition from global players, including Amazon, in Australia.

Super Retail sees minimal growth from physical stores.

In a market update today, the company says it’s made a solid start to the year with all businesses delivering positive like for like growth.

In the 16 weeks to October 20, Supercheap Auto reported like-for-like sales of 3.1%, Rebel 2%, BCF 2.4% and outdoor clothing group Macpac 8.4%.

“There are some signs that the retail consumer is being more cautious so it will be very important that our businesses get the balance right between driving sales and managing margin as we move into the major trading period of the year,” says Birtles.

“We have reached a major milestone with all of our businesses now operating on a new digital platform.

“We are now focused on utilising the platform to provide a more engaging online offer to our customers including the ability to provide access to a much wider range of products than we can carry in our retail stores.”

In August Super Retail posted a 26% rise in full year profit of $128.3 million. Revenue was up 4.2% to $2.57 billion.

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