Kate Hardcastle MBE – BBC News – Sports Direct – 11-09-19 – The Customer Whisperer

I’m joined now by the retail analyst Kate
Hardcastle thank you for being with us today Kate. The evidence suggests I
guess that shareholders actually have a good case but of course they don’t have
the clout of a majority to actually unseat him KH: Mike Ashley is the majority
shareholder and I think that is going to be the first and the last in terms of
the conversation of removing him but what we do understand when events like
this happen is the real challenge to the trust and perhaps a lack of respect
they have in him as leader he has been successful in creating from one shop a
brand in the 80s that has gone on to dominate the sports industry but with
information coming in from JD sports a competitor’s results yesterday showing
huge increase in sales and very healthy profits there is a question in terms of
how much our high street can actually offer to a brand and its competitors
within this fashion industry where we’re already seeing challenges to our high
street and how much pressure is going to come from competition to what’s your
sense clear about what’s happening behind the scenes at Sports Direct and
whether they’re adapting at all their strategy which they had to admit in
their recent results was not going well KH: this idea that they would pick up brands
that were suffering and struggling in the high street for instance like the House
of Fraser brand and it’s been rumored this week links of London who have also
come out as potentially a buying hot spot for Mike Ashley they seem to be
distracted from the day job and I think that’s going to really affect them and
their profits and that will be causing the most concern to shareholders and
stakeholders alike really in this very cutthroat retail world we’re expecting
brands to focus and to actually stop being generalists and have clear visions
in terms of how they’re going to satisfy and delight consumers and whilst ever
he’s picking up other brands in different industries different sectors
and trying to do turnaround plans for them it just seems a little bit too much
too soon and taking focus away from the real job
at hand we do here don’t we’d that he runs quite a tight ship and head office
and one of the issues is there just aren’t enough chiefs to now run the many
different outlets that he’s buying do you sense that today’s meeting with the
pressure from shareholders in general will bring about any change? KH: simply put I
think that retail just generally needs far more investment far more resource
and much more collaboration with consumers
to be successful and trying to run a very lean and tight ship when you’re
trying to deliver on all of that is difficult whilst I think there will be
huge amounts of noise and complaints in terms of the way the business has been
run i doubt with that figurehead at the helm of the ship that things are going
to change that radically because this is someone who believes he’s had great
success in business and believes that his tactics are the ones that will
continue to do so and deliver for them Kate Hardcastle thank you very much for
joining us

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