Apparel Retailer Australasia


Primary: Wholesale and Retail Trade

Key Contribution

Successfully implemented significant change across several functional areas in the business resulting in improved focus, performance, and trading results.

The Business

The family owned business with support from two investment companies was, at the time, an apparel retailer selling its own menswear brands exclusively through its own retail stores in New Zealand and Australia.

The Challenge

The family owned business had several family members in key management team positions which limited the commercial experience and capability in the business. Whilst the business had a very strong brand presence in the New Zealand and Australian retail marketplace, it was not performing to its potential or the requirements of shareholders.

The Assistance Required

The main investment company was looking to introduce a senior, commercial Finance Manager to work with the predominantly family management team to improve the:

  • Timeliness and quality of information provided to management and the Board;

  • Capability of the management team;

  • Help management and the Board better understand and address the key issues & opportunities for the business.

The Approach

The main investment company introduced a senior, commercial Finance Manager whom they had worked with over several years in their subsidiary companies to join the business as their Contract Finance Manager. They had confidence this Executive Contractor had the right experience, capability and personality to work effectively with the predominantly family management team at all levels in the organisation to identify and implement effective change to improve business performance and trading results.

The Results Delivered

The Executive Contractor was involved in the business for almost two years, initially in the Contract Finance Manager role but then with the family’s exit from the business as General Manager Operations with responsibility for Information Technology, Finance & Administration, running the Distribution Centre and managing all New Zealand manufacturing arrangements including external Cut-Make-Trim (“CMT”) plants and the business’ own apparel manufacturing plant.

Key results delivered during this period included:

Contract Finance Manager

  • Improved the timeliness and quality of the monthly accounts reporting to management and Board and the audited annual accounts process that was completed two months earlier than previous years;

  • Successfully managed the Group’s lease property portfolio including the negotiation of rent concessions in Australia and new store openings, insurance programme and legal issues which required the resolution of several material issues outstanding prior to the Contract Finance Manager’s arrival.

General Manager – Operations

  • Implemented a major Support Office restructuring that resulted in a significant reduction in overhead expenses;

  • Increased the customer service ethic, staff responsiveness and productivity (higher volumes with less staff) in the Distribution Centre;

  • Rationalised the number of external CMT Plants from 19 to 7 inside six months and improved the delivery performance of garments into retail stores;

  • With the decision made for the business to exit all involvement with apparel manufacturing, successfully sold the business’ own apparel manufacturing plant to ensure ongoing supply of NZ made product for a price exceeding budget and write-down provisions.