Relishing an uphill job on Kathmandu
KATHMANDU’s new boss Xavier Simonet is not letting a takeover offer distract him as he works to turn around the embattled adventure wear chain.
New Zealand retailer Briscoe lobbed a multi- million- dollar takeover bid for Kathmandu just one day after Mr Simonet ( pictured) stepped into the chief executive role in June. “It has given me the opportunity to accelerate my deep dive into the business as well my interaction with the team,” he said. But that’s as far as he’ll go in discussing Briscoe’s bid for control, which Kathmandu’s board is still considering.
The 45- year- old father of five is no stranger to turning around struggling businesses, having recently done so with UK handbag chain Radley. He was recruited as chief executive in 2013 and less than three years later, Radley’s profits had improved significantly, with expansion into Asia playing a large role.
The French- born Australian appears to be planning a similar approach for Kathmandu, which he said faces similar challenges to Radley. “Of course Europe is a big outdoor market but I would also argue that Asia has huge potential for Kathmandu,” he said.
“It’s not too far from here, the region has fast- growing economies and people are spending much more money than in the past on discretionary products. Also, there’s a shift towards healthier lifestyles.”
Kathmandu’s former chief executive Peter Halkett resigned in November 2014 amid declining sales growth and a profit downgrade.