Moss Bros shareholders and leading menswear figures have welcomed the appointment of Brian Brick as interim chief executive of the menswear chain this week, following Philip Mountford’s resignation.
Brick, the former managing director and owner of Speciality Retail Group (SRG), Moss Bros’s main rival which operates the Suits You chain, told Drapers he was preparing to drive the untapped potential at Moss Bros, which owns the Moss and Cecil Gee chains as well as several Hugo Boss, Canali and Simon Carter franchise stores.
Brick, who was already a non-executive director at Moss Bros, said: “We’ll take stock of the whole business and have a good look. It’s a tough marketplace at the moment but there’s lots of potential. It’s a great business with some great brands and people, and even in a hard market there’s still opportunity. I ran SRG when we had some difficult times and we became a very good business.”
Suppliers and investors said they hoped Brick’s appointment would end months of uncertainty at the menswear chain. In November last year, speculation mounted that Arcadia owner Sir Philip Green would buy the business after acquiring a 28% stake. However, he sold it on to a consortium of investors led by menswear supplier Simon Berwin, who has worked closely with Brick in the past.
Founding family member and shareholder Roland Gee said he was delighted by Brick’s appointment. “Brian has a deep understanding of the market and is a good manager. He has the respect of brands including Hugo Boss,” he said.
Founding family member and shareholder David Moss added: “Brian will make first-rate decisions. It won’t be about strategy change in these times – it’s about rallying your people, refining your sourcing, controlling costs and getting bestsellers in stores.”
Supplier and franchise partner Simon Carter said: “If anyone can steer Moss Bros through the downturn it is Brian Brick. He has a great reputation.”
The Brick family sold SRG to private equity firm Gresham in 2005 in a buyout led by former Moss Bros chief executive Adrian Wright.
Mountford steps down at the end of January. Moss Bros said it was searching for a permanent replacement.