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Hallenstein Glasson boss steps down

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/11/2016 Paul McBeth

Hallenstein Glasson's annual profit slumps by a quarter after a poor first six months of the financial year. © Bloomberg via Getty Images Hallenstein Glasson's annual profit slumps by a quarter after a poor first six months of the financial year. Hallenstein Glasson chief executive Graeme Popplewell will step down from the day-to-day running of the clothing retailer at the end of the year, after five years at the helm.

He will retire as chief executive at the end of the year, while retaining a seat on the board as a non-executive director, the Auckland-based company said on Friday.

Mr Popplewell took over the top job in February 2011 a year after being tapped to head the menswear Hallenstein division, having first joined Hallenstein Bros 45 years ago.

He has been on the board of Hallenstein since 1985, overseeing its merger with Glasson that year and seen a trebling of its store footprint and expansion across the Tasman.

"The past five years have seen an unprecedented change in retail with the explosion of e-commerce and the globalisation of so many brands," Mr Popplewell said.

"It's been intense and we've had to reinvent the business to successfully meet the changing market."

Retailers have borne the brunt of changing consumer behaviour as the rise of online shopping undermined traditional 'bricks and mortar' networks, leading to several high-profile failures including Pumpkin Patch and Dick Smith Electronics.

Those in the rag trade have felt it acutely, with government figures showing consumer prices for clothing have shrunk 1.4 per cent since 2011 when Mr Popplewell took over the reins of Hallenstein Glasson.

Mr Popplewell said he anticipated the next five years would see "major technological advances" with changing customer demands.

"We need to be equal to any international retailer to be able to compete," he said.

Hallenstein Glasson's ecommerce offering was expanding at an annual 30 per cent pace, and "becoming a significant part of the business," he said.

The retailer reported a 21 per cent drop in profit to $13.7 million on a 0.9 per cent increase in sales for the 2016 financial year, reflecting a loss from its Glassons unit in Australia and weaker earnings from its flagship menswear chain.

It has started an international search for a new chief executive.

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