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Myer posts positive H1, names Olivia Wirth chair and CEO

By Prachi Singh


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Ari Mervis, Olivia Wirth, John King Credits: Myer

Myer Group comparable sales rose 0.1 percent in the first six month period, while total sales of 1,829.1 million Australian dollars declined 3 percent but were 13.8 percent above pre-Covid period.

The Myer Holdings Limited also announced the appointment of independent non-executive director, Olivia Wirth, as executive chair to drive the company’s next phase of growth. Wirth will assume her role as chair effective immediately and assume CEO and executive chair responsibility from June 4, 2024.

Commenting on the results, Myer’s CEO, John King, said in a statement: “The Customer First Plan continues to deliver for Myer despite the macroeconomic conditions. We were able to achieve a strong comparable sales outcome, cycling our best ever 1st half sales on record in FY2023 and saw improvements in our market share across both stores and online.”

Highlights of Myer’s first half performance

The company’s online sales were 390.1 million Australian dollars or 21.3 percent of total sales, an increase of 2 percent.

Operating gross profit reduced 2.7 percent to 665.1 million Australian dollars; while margin rate increased by 11 basis points (bps) to 36.4 percent. Net profit after tax (NPAT) was 52 million Australian dollars.

CBD stores were the strongest in-store format increasing 0.8 percent on a comparable sales basis, excluding the Brisbane City store which closed in July 2023.

Myer one continues to deliver positive results, with Myer one tag rate increasing to 76.2 percent, highest since inception, with 374,000 new members during the period under review.

The company completed refurbishments of Marion, Chermside and Ballarat stores and rolled out several shop-in-shops and new brands across the in-store network, including leading Beauty Hall exclusives.

In the first six weeks of the second half, comparable sales were up 4.9 percent over the corresponding period in the prior year.

Given the increased global and local interest in apparel businesses following recent transactions, and the ongoing combined appeal of the Sass & Bide, Marcs and David Lawrence brands, Myer has appointed advisors to commence a strategic review of the business which includes assessing external interest in purchasing the businesses.

Myer appoints Olivia Wirth as executive chair

The company appointed independent non-executive director, Olivia Wirth, as executive chair and independent non-executive director, Dr Gary Weiss AM, as deputy chair and lead independent director, a new role created to enhance governance.

Commenting on the new appointment, Myer chairman, Ari Mervis, said: “The board’s appointment of Olivia as executive chair is the start of a new era for Myer. Olivia is an experienced and respected leader, with a track record of delivering improved business performance. I am confident Myer is well placed under Olivia’s stewardship to build on the Customer First Plan and continue delivering for customers and shareholders in the years ahead.”

Myer’s executive general manager of stores, Tony Sutton, has been promoted to the new executive position of chief operating officer, reporting to Wirth.

With more than 30 years at Myer, the company said, Sutton is an experienced retail executive, having more than a decade long experience with the Executive Management Group (EMG).

To provide Wirth with the best opportunity to lead the board and drive the strategy, the company added that incumbent chair, Ari Mervis, will retire effective today. As part of an orderly leadership transition, chief executive officer and managing director, John King, will remain in his role until June 3, 2024.

Appointed to the Myer board as an independent non-executive director in 2023, Wirth has extensive experience in CEO and senior executive roles, with strong capability in retailing, customer experience and analytics, marketing, brand, loyalty and corporate affairs.

“I am honoured to lead one of Australia’s iconic businesses and brands into a new and exciting phase. The next chapter in Myer’s story requires us to continue tackling some significant challenges and meet the changing needs of our customers,” added Olivia Wirth.

Wirth was the chief executive officer of Qantas Loyalty. Previously she held senior leadership roles at Qantas, including chief customer officer, group executive, brand, marketing and corporate affairs and group executive for Government relations and corporate affairs. She was a member of the group management committee from 2010.

Before joining Qantas, Wirth held senior executive roles for the Tourism and Transport Forum and the Australian Tourist Commission. Wirth is on the board of UNICEF Australia and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

Olivia Wirth