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The Warehouse boss Nick Grayston abruptly quits

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RNZ

17 May 2024, 5:18 AM

The Warehouse boss Nick Grayston abruptly quitsNick Grayston, The Warehouse chief executive. Photo: Supplied / The Warehouse Group

The head of the country's biggest retailer, The Warehouse, has abruptly left the company.


The company said Nick Grayston would immediately step down from the chief executive's job.


"As we look to the future, we have agreed a change in direction is necessary for the company and that it needs fresh energy to execute," Warehouse chairperson Joan Withers said in a statement.





Grayston had led the group, which combines the large Red Shed stores, Warehouse stationery, and appliance and electronics retailer Noel Leeming, through significant change, Withers said.


"His focus on sustainability, adopting agile ways of working, navigating the challenges of Covid and initiating the significant and successful programme of critical infrastructure upgrades have been hallmarks of transformation of The Warehouse Group in the last five years."


Grayston said his time leading the retailer had been one of his most rewarding experiences.


"While it is the right time for me to step aside, I have every confidence in the talented team at The Warehouse Group in delivering value to shareholders and customers and getting the group's strategic and financial performance back on track."


Track record


Grayston joined The Warehouse from American retail giant Sears in 2016, after previously working for a range of British and European retailers, charged with improving sales and shareholder returns as well as developing its online market presence.


But his tenure has been characterised by restructurings, unsuccessful ventures such as a consumer finance operation, less than successful online ventures, asset write downs and erratic earnings.





Earlier this year, the company posted a half-year loss of $23.7 million because of asset write downs involving outdoor goods company Torpedo7 which it ultimately sold for $1.


Earlier this month, it confirmed the closure of its separate online site TheMarket, because it could not find a buyer. However, the Red Sheds have been increasing grocery sales.


Board member John Journee, a former head of Noel Leeming, will be interim chief executive until a permanent replacement is found.