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French Connection finance chief steps down

French Connection’s group finance director Adam Castleton is stepping down after two years.

Castleton is leaving to take up the role of chief financial officer at Newcastle-based LSL Property Services, which offers estate agency, surveying and valuations. A search for his replacement is under way.

Castleton joined French Connection in August 2013 from telecommunications firm O2, where he was finance director of its business division.

He replaced Roy Naismith, who abruptly left French Connection in April 2013 after 12 years. Naismith later took up the chief financial officer position at Indian menswear and womenswear etailer Koovs.

French Connection has been struggling to keep up with its high street rivals for years. In 2012 it launched a turnaround programme, which included the closure of loss-making stores and a review of its products.

In March 2015 the group, which comprises French Connection, Toast, Great Plains and YMC, revealed it had narrowed its underlying operating loss to £800,000 for the 12 months to January 31, 2015, down from a £4.4m loss the prior year and £10.5m the year before that.

However, like-for-like sales in the UK and Europe dropped 3%.

In April it warned its half-year retail sales would be “materially” lower than expected due to challenging market conditions. It is closing seven underperforming stores this year, on top of nine last year.

Castleton joined O2 in May 2007 as head of commercial finance and was acting chief financial officer from January 2011 to January 2012, when he joined the business division. He previously worked at companies including eBay, Polo Ralph Lauren and The Walt Disney Company.

French Connection will announce his departure date in due course.

@KirstyMcGregor

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