Former M&S Food head of finance appointed Poundstretcher CEO
Tristan Phillips, the former Head of Finance at Marks & Spencer (M&S) Food, has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Poundstretcher.
Phillips, who previously served as Poundstretcher’s Finance Director after joining the company in the autumn of 2022, succeeds Derek Lawlor, who departed from the role in May after a tenure of 10 months. Lawlor, a retail veteran with over three decades of experience, reportedly left due to a difference of opinion with Poundstretcher’s owner, Aziz Tayub.
Phillips, who had a one-year stint as Poundstretcher’s Finance Director, expressed his positive working relationship with Tayub and emphasized the importance of continuity in leadership. His prior experience includes roles as Head of Finance at M&S, Head of Commercial Finance at O2, and Finance Director at Groupon.
Poundstretcher faced a challenging period with a 16% decline in turnover to £273 million in the year ending March 2022. The company underwent a restructuring, closing 17 stores and exiting loss-making sites through a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). Additionally, more than 1,000 retail staff were let go during this period.
Despite the challenges, Phillips is optimistic about the future, stating that the company’s estate has now stabilised after declining to 324 stores by the end of 2022. Looking ahead, Poundstretcher plans to open “at least 20 new stores all over the country” by the end of the financial year in March.
Phillips emphasizsd the company’s belief in the high street, with a focus on smaller regional towns and busy high streets that are experiencing a resurgence. The company aims to play an active role in these communities by creating jobs and contributing to their economic growth.
Phillips revealed that some of the new stores would be former Wilko stores, and Poundstretcher actively participated in the selection process, evaluating the entire portfolio to strategically choose locations that align with the company’s vision and goals.