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CEO Nick Beighton Out at Matches

Beighton’s appointment as a director at Matches has been terminated, according to Companies House, the register of businesses in the U.K.

CEO Nick Beighton Out at Matches

Nick Beighton

LONDON — Nick Beighton, the last hope of Matches’ former owners Apax Partners and the retailer’s fourth chief executive officer in five years, is out after less than two years in the role.

According to Companies House, the register of U.K. businesses, his directorship has been terminated. 

Matches’ administrators Teneo, which is seeking buyers for all or part of the company, did not confirm the Companies House posting. 

Teneo said: “We have not announced this, and we would not comment on personal information about employees or executives” at the retailer.

Matches was put into administration abruptly last month by its new owners Frasers Group, although the company continues to trade and is seeking to clear as much inventory as possible before new owners are found.

At the time, Teneo confirmed that 273 employees, a little more than half of the company’s total, were laid off with immediate effect. The layoffs applied solely to those working at the head office in London. It was unclear whether Beighton, who was attempting to turn the business around, would remain. 

Beighton, who had spent much of his career at the fast-fashion giant Asos, had succeeded Paolo De Cesare in the top role, and was the latest in a revolving door of CEOs under former owners Apax Partners. 

Prior to joining Matches he was CEO of Asos, and was credited with having transformed the fashion e-commerce platform into a 4 billion pound operation. During his long tenure, he had also served as Asos’ chief operating officer. 

During his short tenure at Matches, he had tried to stem revenue declines and profit losses and was upbeat about the Frasers’ purchase. 

“Being part of Frasers, with their utter commitment to luxury, will give this business access to greater scale, best-in-class retail expertise, and the financial stability it needs to more effectively deliver for our brand partners and our customers,” Beighton said late last year.

The turnaround job was always going to be a big one. In the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2023, Matches’ sales dipped 1.7 percent to 380.1 million pounds, while losses widened to 70.9 million pounds from 39.8 million pounds.

Frasers, which bought Matches in a knockdown deal valued at 52 million pounds, gave up after a few months. 

The company, which owns retailers including Flannels, House of Fraser and Sports Direct, said Matches had “consistently missed its business plan targets and…has continued to make material losses. While Matches’ management team has tried to try to find a way to stabilize the business, it has become clear that too much change would be required to restructure it, and the continued funding requirements would be far in excess of amounts that the group considers to be viable.”

At the time, Teneo said: “Since Frasers’ acquisition of Matches in December 2023, and an injection of additional funding, trading has continued to deteriorate, increasing the funding requirements of the business. This ultimately has resulted in the directors taking the difficult decision to place the company into administration.”

Teneo has declined to comment on who might buy all or part of Matches. This latest fire sale could see Frasers Group or Next plc return as an interested party. Late last year Next was competing with Frasers Group to purchase the brand.

As reported, Matches’ brands and suppliers have been tapping lawyers to help them recoup outstanding payments and warehouse stock.

However, the administration process has to play out and buyers need to be found before anything is resolved. Administration can take up to a year, although industry sources believe the team at Teneo could find buyers for all, or parts, of Matches within the next few months.