Former Musclefood CEO returns with mission to turn company around

Nick Preston

The former CEO of Nottingham-based online retailer, Musclefood, has returned to the company – and has pledged to turn the company around as it prepares to report a drop of £13m in revenue over its latest financial year.

Nick Preston rejoins the firm having previously left his role of join CEO last December.

Preston has said he will bring in a “renewed focus” on brand and key values as he takes sole charge of the firm, which a remit to “action change and restore pride”.

The business will soon report a fall in revenue from £40m during financial year 20/21, to £27m in 21/22, with Preston citing an unsuccessful rebrand, reduced focus on key trading areas and an expensive, delayed tech re-platform as contributing factors.

He previously spent six years at MuscleFood rising to joint CEO but left the business claiming his voice was going unheard.

Now, following on from the departure of several members of MuscleFood’s senior management team he has been tempted back to return to the helm, this time as sole CEO.

Since returning in June, Preston has set about commercially restructuring the business from top to bottom while at the same time setting plans for the future. Early results, he saus, have been “remarkable”.

A recent internal HR Survey from across the business reported that 89% of staff reported that they felt Musclefood had a bright future and 96% felt that they were trusted to do their job.

At the same time, a renewed focus on the core Musclefood online meat hamper business has seen the sales decline halted and sales increase.

Preston said: “It feels like Groundhog Day, for the second time in three years I find myself back in Musclefood saying the same thing – that the business had lost its focus, lost direction and suffered from mismanagement brought about by senior hires that didn’t get the brand. There was no accountability even when it was clear the plans were not working.

“The reason I have returned is because irrespective of recent performance, Musclefood is an amazing business and I know that if run correctly, can be turned around quickly. The team have now been given the freedom to do the jobs they were brought in to do and they are responding by delivering some great results.

“We have good control on the cost base and the business is now living within its means. This in my opinion gives us the perfect platform to take the business forward.”

Preston admitted that some in his network had questioned his decision to return to MuscleFood but it is a challenge he relishes.

“MuscleFood has so much potential. There’s a tried and tested market for our products and we’re reconnecting with that. It would be true to say the brand lost its way and drifted backwards over the past couple of years but we are turning that around and going forward once again. I’m known for moving at pace and it’s an exciting time to be back involved.

“I know the business inside out and I’m putting together a core team of people who understand and care passionately about the brand.”

MuscleFood was founded in 2013 and quickly became well known for its healthy subscription meal plan Goal Getters which was followed by several high profile faces.

Preston added: “My first priority has been on bringing in people who understand this brand and feel passionately about it. It’s all about restoring a sense of pride and identity. We will be focusing on our healthy eating offering and on the high quality of our meat and it’s incredible value for money.

“Times are difficult out there for consumers and we shouldn’t be afraid to champion and celebrate the fact we offer our customers a great deal when it comes to their food shop.”

Preston is also the founder of DTS Food and creator of the ChillerFiller retail supply app. DTS supplies MuscleFood with several products. Their new Cookit meat and seafood range will soon be launched in Poundland, replacing other products which were recently the focus of negative press attention.

Preston said: “Our products offer both great value and super quality which makes them perfect for consumers who want to save money without compromising on quality. I’m excited to share the news of our partnership with Poundland.

“It’s products such as these which also built MuscleFood into a powerhouse of online retail. Consumers knew they could come to the website for both value and quality. That has always been the case but we lost our focus in communicating it.

“The healthy eating range accounts for around two thirds of MuscleFood revenue. We’re promoting that once again and it’s what we want to be known for first and foremost.”

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