Christensen takes on JJB challenge

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Lawrence Christensen, the former Sainsbury’s supply chain director, is to join the board of troubled retailer JJB Sports from November.

JJB has just announced an operating loss of £181.8m on sales of £362.9m for the year to 30th January 2011.

Christensen will take up the non-executive director role after completing a consultancy project with the Australian retailer, Coles.

He is credited with turning around the fortunes of Sainsbury’s logistics operations in 2004.

He went on to win the European Supply Chain Excellence Award for his Outstanding Contribution to the world of supply chain management in 2006.

Mike McTighe, chairman of JJB Sports said: “Lawrence’s operational knowledge, as well as his experience as a director at other retail companies will be warmly welcomed at JJB. The Board and I are all very much looking forward to working with him.”

The retailer has put in place a restructuring plan to restore profitability. McTighe said: “The financial restructuring was completed on schedule by the end of April and since then the operational restructuring has progressed well. Underperforming stores have closed as part of our CVA, and headcount and operating costs have been significantly reduced. While the sales environment remains challenging, Management’s prudent controls mean that business performance in the first quarter has met the Board’s expectations.

“The fundraising in April also provided us with the funds to refurbish our store portfolio, following the success of last year’s trial. A further 150 stores are targeted for refresh or refit in the current year, with 50 targeted for 2012/13.

“The restructuring of JJB will not be easy or quick and will most likely take three to five years. The retail environment is challenging, will remain so for some time and we face intense competition. But the work undertaken over the past six months, together with the crucial support of all our stakeholders have given JJB a chance to survive and ultimately to prosper and I look forward to working with our management team to make this happen.”


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