Shares in bikes-to-car parts retailer Halfords plunged 8.5 per cent yesterday after Tesco announced it had poached chief executive Matt Davies to head up its UK and Ireland business.
The former Pets at Home boss was hired in 2012 to lead a turnaround of the tired chain, which had issued nine profit warnings in the two years before his arrival.
Shares have since risen by more than 50 per cent as Davies revamped the retailer’s website, retrained staff, revamped stores and ramped up its cycling accessories ranges. Profits jumped 11 per cent in its first half to 26 September.
His move came as a surprise, but was welcomed by the City. Peel Hunt’s John Stevenson said: “We see Matt as an emotive retail leader, who understands how to merchandise a store, motivate staff and how to deliver what customers are looking for.
“Certainly, the strong retail board Matt has built around him will be able to carry on the recovery programme, but a loss nonetheless,” he said.
Davies is expected to leave Halfords in May and start his new job at Tesco on 1 June.