Matalan loses its head of marketing

Matalan chief marketer Gerry Murphy is to quit the value retailer, after appointing Euro RSCG to handle advertising for the brand.

It is not known whether Murphy, who is leaving in the new year, has a job to go to. His departure follows that of former marketing director Euan Sutherland, who left his position as retail operations director in August to become chief operating officer at Superdrug.

It is not known whether Murphy, who reports to trading director Adrian Porteous, will be replaced.

Matalan used an in-house team to handle advertising before Euro RSCG was appointed last month (MW October 7). A disappointing Christmas last year spurred the retailer to invest in a television advertising campaign to help boost sales during this seasonal period.

Earlier this month the Matalan Group reported a fall in pre-tax profits for the 26 weeks ending August 28 to &£41.7m from &£42.2m last year. It says profits were knocked by the poor performance of loss-making Lee Cooper, which is up for sale.

Encouragingly, like-for-like sales at Matalan the retailer were up 4.5 per cent against a fall of 6.7 per cent for the same period last year.

There has been continued speculation that founder John Hargreaves, who owns more than 50 per cent of the group is considering taking it private. There has also been speculation that Tesco, Asda/Wal-Mart or US group Target may be interested in buying the retail side of Matalan.

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