Feb 6, 2023
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Studio Retail CEO exits, insider becomes MD

Feb 6, 2023

Studio Retail’s CEO has exited the business almost a year after it was snapped up by Frasers Group in a rescue deal.

Studio Retail

Paul Kendrick has stepped down from the helm with David Twigg, Financial Services Director, becoming Managing Director of the company. Twigg joined the business in his previous role as far back as 2017.

That was a year after Kendrick himself had joined as Commercial Director before being promoted to Deputy MD then MD in April 2017. He became CEO in March 2021 when his predecessor retired. 

He’d previously worked at budget retailer Bonmarché as well as at Co-op and travel firm Tui.

The news of his departure from Studio Retail came in Companies House filings. 

The change at the helm is perhaps unsurprising given that Frasers had previously expressed concern over the management of the firm before it went into administration last year. 

The collapse of Studio Retail — an online seller of affordable general merchandise — had seemed to come almost from out of nowhere. 

In autumn 2020, it was upbeat about its prospects. But in December 2020, while it was reporting trading strength, it said it had put itself up for sale. That came after Frasers Group, which had a 30%+ stake in the business, sent it a letter in October saying it thought the group was “misunderstood by the market and as a consequence, significantly undervalued”.

During 2021, it continued to report good figures, but in late 2021, it said it had scaled back its full-year profit expectations after seeing a “solid” first half but “challenging trading conditions in Q3”.

It was then hit hard by shipping issues in the 2021 festive trading period and issued a profit warning. But around a year ago, it revealed it had big problems due to “a surplus stockholding which requires additional working capital funding whilst this good quality stock is sold through to customers”. It had requested a £25 million short-term loan from its banks but hadn’t been approved for the financing. 

Frasers bought it out of administration late last February and then slammed both management and its corporate governance. The new owner said at the time: “It is clear that the fundamentals of its business were, at best inadequately scrutinised by its board and/or advisors to the business… as the business entered its death spiral.”

It turned out that Studio Retail had debts of £80 million when it collapsed and was sold for just £1.

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