May 30, 2023
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Matalan's interim buying chief becomes trading head as changes at firm continue

May 30, 2023

Matalan has made a key change to its line-up as it continues to transform itself under its new owners. Interim buying and merchandising director Ben Smith is now the newly created chief trading officer, reporting to still-new CEO Jo Whitfield.


The promotion comes as further senior managers leave the business with sourcing and imports director David Mellett and buying director Toni Craig exiting.

Smith joined from Poundland’s budget fashion operation Pep&Co in March and has taken on his new title with immediate effect.

He has an impressive CV in value retail covering fashion, beauty and general merchandise, and as well as Pep&Co, has held trading and buying director roles for Primark across womenswear, menswear, footwear, accessories and beauty. 

Whitfield cited that track record in announcing the change and said the new role will allow the retailer to focus on strengthening its commercial proposition while offering “the great quality and value that our customers trust us for at Matalan”.

The retailer has seen a lot of change this year with ownership changing in January when a group of the company’s lenders agreed a debt for equity swap, frustrating founder John Hargreaves in his aim to win back control of the firm.

Interim chairman Tim Isaacs left the business on the day the acquisition was concluded. March saw Karl-Heinz Holland taking that role as Whitfield was also unveiled as its CEO and Nigel Oddy ended his six-month role as interim chief executive.

In April, Ali Jones also joined in the newly created role of chief customer and omnichannel officer.

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