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Exclusive: Suzanne Harlow exits Jack Wills

Jack Wills chief executive Suzanne Harlow has left following Sports Direct’s takeover of the lifestyle retailer, Drapers can reveal. 

It is understood that Harlow left yesterday. A source close to the situation said she “did not resign”. 

Harlow took on the chief executive role at Jack Wills in September, after being appointed as a consultant in May last year. 

She previously spent 19 years at Debenhams until 2017, most recently as group trading director. 

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct International bought Jack Wills, which traded from 100 stores, for £12.8m in a pre-pack administration deal earlier this month.

It has since closed eight stores, and Drapers understands more will shut this week.

Negotiations are ongoing with landlords to slash rents across the remaining stores. CBRE is advising Sports Direct.

In its most recent results, adjusted EBITDA at Jack Wills fell by 219% year on year to a loss of £7.5m in the 52 weeks to 28 January 2018. Turnover fell by 1.1% to £129.3m and gross margin decreased to 60% from 55.9%. 

At the time of reporting, in March this year, a spokeswoman said: “It is true that 2017/18 was a challenging year for Jack Wills but the business has moved on significantly since then. The improved processes and tighter financial disciplines we have put in place helped halve the EBITDA loss for 2018/19.”

Sports Direct declined to comment.

 

 

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