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Operating at MD & CEO within different business formats, I have an exceptional record of success particularly in the retail sector, transforming and growing multi-site and e-commerce operations to maximise profitability and shareholder value.
My most recent success was at Wine Cellar Ltd with 182 retail stores where I turned the business around to enable a trade sale to occur.
With 20 years large Corporate experience working at Argos / GUS & Littlewoods Mail order I am skilled at working in major corporations with large teams of people operating in a complex business environment. In addition I also have had 10 years operating at CEO & MD level within a variety of SME’s in the £100m to £250m turnover bracket.
Steve's Career History
Bretland Business Consultants
• Providing business advisory services
• Corporate recovery work including refinancing
• Success management programmes
• Mentoring for Boards to Business owners
• Coaching - Getting the best out of your business
EUROPEAN FOOD BROKERS Ltd – T/o £136m, Convenience stores and Off-licenses.
Interim Managing Director
Selected to improve performance of 100 stores and implement strategic change. 750 staff.
• Improved like-for-like sales by £2.2m from -8% in 2011 to -2% in 2012 despite difficult trading conditions.
• Significantly strengthened internal audit security procedures and systems reducing £250k pa stock and cash losses.
• Implemented EPOS system changes to allow end-to-end stock tracking and discrepancy reporting and generate accurate store stock level information and reconciliation.
• Introduced a long-term performance related pay scheme incentivising store sales and rewarding high achieving store staff.
• Designed sales and marketing strategies increasing customer footfall with no margin loss.
• Facilitated the acquisition of 37 Oddbins stores and successfully integrated these and 120 Wine Cellar stores, staff and systems into the EFB operation.
Bakery Works Ltd T/A bake&TAKE a European master franchise licence.
• Investor in self-service bakery concept start up from Europe.
• Trading as backWERK in Europe, 380 store continental operation VC owned in Europe .
• Trading with 10 franchised stores, sold licence back to Germany.
WINE CELLAR Ltd – T/o £100m, convenience stores and off-licenses.
Headhunted to turnaround a loss making business with full P&L responsibility. 1,100 staff.
• Increased 1st year like-for-like sales by 5% and drove 2008 Christmas trading to +18% like-for-like despite the recession.
• Improved EBITDA to breakeven in 1st year from a £2m loss and a history of cumulative losses over the previous 4 years.
• Reduced costs by £1.5m by tight operational control, headcount reduction, introducing flexible working, cutting wastage and renegotiating supplier contracts.
• Increased supplier retrospective discounts by £1.4m (+150%) against a 5% sales increase.
• Negotiated a highly attractive JV with the UK’s largest wholesaler, Palmer and Harvey and “Mace” brand holder, to open 100 convenience stores for a minimal contribution.
• Radically improved the business culture and staff morale, winning “hearts and minds” of both staff and suppliers with a can-do attitude to drive business performance.
• Successfully traded a business in crisis for 3 years despite a continuing £1.5m shortfall in working capital and allowing a “pre-pack” trade sale saving over 750 jobs.
EBUYER Ltd – T/o £200m, online consumer electronics and technology products retailer.
Headhunted to aggressively grow the business with full P&L responsibility. 200 staff.
• Increased sales from £128m to over £200m and profits from £9m to £21m.
• Restructured the buying department, recruiting experienced e-commence and retail buying professionals.
• Opened a Chinese office to direct buy stock, reduce product purchase prices and drive sales volume, increasing margins by 2% and vendor rebates by £4mEBUYER Ltd. continued.
• Renegotiated credit card acquisition costs with RBS saving £1m pa.
• Improved internal culture and staff morale by providing leadership and direction to an inexperienced and disillusioned team and appointed an HR specialist to support team building and develop a commercial outlook.
• Implemented website advertising for suppliers, increasing revenue by £500k per month.
• Built a modern warehouse facility, negotiated all key contracts saved £6m on budget.
• Reviewed the US business and implemented a revenue based strategy and a grey-market buying stance achieving over 60% like-for-like sales growth.
• Improved customer service by combining UK and USA customer contact operations allowing 24hour customer support and aggressive KPIs for enquiry handling.
BRENNAN ATKINSON Ltd – T/o £60m, discount wholesale and retail, VC backed (ISIS).
Headhunted to integrate an acquisition, refinance the business and exit the VC. 400 staff.
• Successfully integrated the acquired 17 retail store Littlewoods Discount Stores business, with 500 staff, into the existing Brennan and Atkinson wholesale business.
• Turned around the retail stores from losses of £5.5m pa to £500k pa profit in 6 months.
• Implemented a new retail warehouse and distribution organisation within 4 months.
• Reinvigorated operations, introducing staff appraisals, flexible working, strategic buying plans and a new EPOS system.
• Delivered all agreed year-end profit targets for both wholesale and retail businesses.