Frasers CEO says firm will work hard to reach out to City investors
Ever-expanding retail group Frasers is on the search for fresh investment with its new chief executive Michael Murray saying he wants to build the business’s previously frayed relations with the City of London.
In an interview with The Financial Times, Murray said the firm is “definitely going to be increasing its efforts” in reaching out to investors.
The Flannels, Sports Direct, House of Fraser and Jack Wills owner is currently looking for an investor relations manager, as well as “building up more communication” and planning to hold a capital markets day. The group has already appointed Numis as joint corporate broker and PR agency Brunswick to handle financial communications.
Murray said he wanted to reset relations with the City, vowing better communications with investors and less adversarial approach its previous CEO Mike Ashley was renowned for.
He also noted its acquisition strategy would now be more selective. “If it doesn’t fit into sport, premium or luxury or add value to our ecosystem or platform... then we won’t be buying it,” he said.
Murray took over the chief executive's role from Ashely, still the group's major shareholder, in May, moving up from Head of Elevation where his job spec was to modernise the brand and take it in a more upmarket direction. That can be seen clearly in growth for its high-end fashion brand Flannels, while it's also expanding and upgrading its giant Sports Direct business.
Recent purchases for the acquisitive group have included struggling e-commerce retailers Missguided and I Saw It First. It's also in the running to buy upscale tailor Gieves & Hawkes but sold out of its US sports/outdoor ops as Murray “didn’t believe they were core to the group’s strategy”.
Murray said his conversations with shareholders indicated that “they want to see more of what we are doing and how quickly we can go. Obviously, they like the financial results... they want us to keep investing in the things that work and stay focused”.
He explained that he wants to buy more businesses and open more stores after annual sales rose by almost a third and pre-tax profits leapt.
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