The arrival of experienced pair Tim Bettley and Dave Williams marks the completion of Barry Williams’ top Retail Executive team at Poundland, just over a year after the former Asda man took on the role of UK and Ireland managing director.
It’s easy to see what attracted Barry Williams to Bettley, who will take up the role of trading director in January, and his namesake Dave, who has joined as finance director.
Poundland’s strategy is built around extending its value proposition across a wider range of products, most notably in clothing where the expansion of its Pep & Co shop-in-shop offer continues to gather pace.
Both Bettley and Dave Williams fit the bill as capable people with solid value retail and clothing credentials who can help execute the plan.
Bettley built his reputation during an 18-year career at Peacocks, the last eight of which were spent as managing director. He subsequently worked at Morrisons where he was trading director for general merchandise and clothing, he was responsible for developing the forward GM strategy.
Bettley’s current role is as commercial director of The Original Factory Shop where his tenure coincided with Dave Williams’ year-long spell as chief financial officer during 2016.
Williams, a qualified chartered accountant who spent the early part of his career at KMPG, has a similar wealth of experience across the retail sector having previously worked for JD Sports, JBB, TJ Hughes and Focus DIY.
At Poundland his responsibilities will also include property at a time when the retailer is an active player in the retail property market. True, some of the bold talks about taking its store estate well beyond the thousand mark has been more muted since the Steinhoff accounting scandal, but Poundland is still in acquisitive mode, recently announcing it will open stores in up to 20 former Poundworld locations.
Although recent results showed an overall drop in sales due to store disposals relating to the purchase of 99p Stores, Barry Williams believes there is real momentum in the business at the moment with like-for-like sales showing a 1.7% increase in the nine months to 30 June.
Gimmicks such as checkouts that play Elvis songs may give customers a chuckle, but it’s by doing the retail basics well that Poundland will win in a challenging marketplace. In that respect, both Bettley and Dave Williams look like sensible, low-risk hires.