New chair for TheWorks as it prepares for its own post-pandemic recovery

Carolyn Bradley

Tesco’s former marketing director has been appointed chair of The Works as the retailer prepares for its own post-pandemic recovery.

Carolyn Bradley spent 25 years at Tesco before leaving in 2013, and has since held a number of non-executive roles, including at B&M and Marston’s.

She replaces Card Factory founder Dean Hoyle, who is standing down after seven years’ involvement with the company.

Bradley will become chair at the end of September and has confirmed she is to stand down from her role as senior independent director at Marston’s.

She said: “The Works is a true champion of the high street and has grown to become a successful multi-channel retailer.

“With its refocused strategy, highly capable leadership team and a workforce of over 3,500 dedicated and passionate colleagues I have no doubt that The Works will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Under chief executive Gavin Peck, The Works had already begun to “de-emphasise store openings in favour of accelerating profitable digital growth”, and driving improvements through the existing store estate before the pandemic hit.

Peck’s ambition was for the retailer to be “not just a bigger version of ourselves, but a better version”.

He believes that is already being delivered despite the “intensely challenging year” it has been through, with Covid-19 restrictions forcing the closure of its high street stores for nearly half of the financial year.

Despite that, revenues were down by only 20% to £181m in the year to May 2. It made a pre-tax loss of £2.8m.

The start of this financial year has been positive. Sales in the first 11 weeks are up 13% on two years ago, with online sales nearly doubled. While it says this “positions the company well for the full year”, its performance will ultimately be determined by the critical Christmas trading period.