The Reject Shop appoints former Kmart exec as new CEO

Seven months after former chief executive Ross Sudano stepped down, The Reject Shop has announced Andre Reich has been appointed as chief executive officer from 13 January, 2020. 

Reich has previously held roles at Myer, serving as chief executive for Review, general manager of merchandising and marketing as Kmart Australia, and most recently as chief operating officer at Target Australia.

“Andre Reich is recognised across the market as a high performing retailing executive with extensive experience in low price retail formats,” The Reject Shop chairman Steve Fisher said. 

“I am really pleased that Andre is keen to be part of the transformation of The Reject Shop as it’s next chief executive officer. Andre sees the opportunities that the future holds for the company as we return to our core focus of discount variety retailing.”

Reich said it was a privilege to be given the opportunity, and he would drive a focus on consumer, a positive and proactive team culture, and the delivery of sustainable commercial results. 

In May, it was announced Sudano would be stepping down after being appointed to the position in 2014, just three months before chairman Bill Stevens departed the business

The exits came as the discount retailer posted a $16.9 million net loss for the FY19 period – more than 200 per cent below the previous year’s profit of $16.6 million – which was largely blamed on a $15.4 million impairment.

Taking the impairment out the equation left the business with a $1.5 million loss, which lands within its previously stated guidance of a loss between $1 million and $2 million. 

Stevens said at the time that it had been an extremely difficult year for the Reject Shop, and the retail sector more generally. 

“With a sharp focus on improving our performance, we have identified errors and we are actively addressing them. Our now re-focused strategy, centred around our core discount variety value proposition, is showing early signs of gaining traction with our customers,” said Stevens. 

According to interim-CEO Dani Aquilina, the business is refocusing on low-priced branded product, daily essentials, general merchandise and regularly refreshed product lines.

“We are focused on getting back to our roots and turning the business around, we are focusing on the categories our customers know us for and dialling up the essence of who we are, a discount variety store,” Aquilina said.

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