Quiz CEO steps down but stays as non-exec as sales growth still elusive

Struggling womenswear retailer Quiz announced some big changes on Thursday following a strategic review, with its CEO stepping down, its commercial chief stepping up and its Chairman taking a more active role.


Non-Executive Chairman Peter Cowgill (formerly of JD Sports) has been leading the review since December as the firm works to “deliver a potential increase in value for the company’s shareholders”.

That review is ongoing, but its first fruits see some pretty big moves. As mentioned, Tarak Ramzan — who founded the business and has been its Chief Executive ever since — is relinquishing his role with immediate effect. But he’s not cutting ties and as the largest shareholder (and very “supportive”) of the company, will assume a Non-Executive Director role.  

He’s “agreed to waive 50% of the payments contractually due to him with regards to his notice period and agreed to waive any fees with regards to acting as a Non-Executive Director for the next 12 months”.

Meanwhile Sheraz Ramzan, currently Chief Commercial Officer, steps up as CEO. He’s been CCO since 2004 and has been an executive director of the company since IPO in 2017. 

The company said he “brings a fresh approach along with extensive experience and knowledge of the business”. His task is now to “implement a turnaround strategy to recalibrate the Quiz brand, its product offering, and reconnect with consumers with the aim of moving the business back into profitable growth”.

And Cowgill? The man who previously led JD Sports from just another sports retailer into one of the biggest operators on the planet has “agreed to take on a more active role in supporting the company through to conclusion of the review of strategic options and supporting Sheraz’s transition into his new role”. He’ll “work closely with Sheraz in initiating the turnaround strategy and actioning any strategic outcomes from the review”.

The company is still looking for at least one additional independent Non-Executive Director following Charlotte O’Sullivan’s departure last November.

So what has brought the business to these leadership changes? Tough times that haven’t improved lately. It said that “consistent with trends experienced earlier in the financial year, UK sales continue to be impacted by subdued levels of traffic both in-store and “.

Sales from 1 January to 29 February 2024 fell 9% year on year to £8.6 million, even though there was an extra day this time due to it being a leap year.  Cumulative sales for the period from 1 April 2023 to 29 February 2024 amounted to £74.4 million, which was down 12%.

The group has recently launched a new omnichannel retail platform. Once fully implemented, this “will allow for an improved omnichannel experience for customers and will help maximise revenues and optimise the management of stock across the business”.

It also said it’s “encouraged by the recent increase in demand for Quiz product in international territories, which accounts for over 10% of revenue. It is pleased with the reaction to this season’s international ranges, particularly in Saudi Arabia following the establishment of a new franchise partnership with the Al Othaim Group. In addition, there has been a positive uplift in demand from our partners in the United States as this business becomes more established”.

The gross margin performance remains “consistent” year-on-year.

It’s expecting revenue and the loss before tax for the year to “be in line with expectations, subject to the potential impact of any non-recurring charges arising from an impairment review of store related assets”.

Quiz added that it’s “taking a number of positive steps to counter the impact of the declining revenues including targeting cost savings for the forthcoming year, eliminating loss-making activities, reviewing operational efficiencies and optimising its product offer”.

Peter Cowgill said of all this: “The UK apparel market has undergone significant well reported changes since Quiz’s ‘s IPO in 2017 and it continues to evolve at pace. The board changes announced today provide an opportunity for a fresh vision and new leadership approach to create value for all shareholders. I look forward to working closely with Sheraz, following his well-deserved promotion to CEO, to determine the optimum path forward for the business.

“I want to express our sincere gratitude to Tarak for his strong leadership and unwavering commitment since founding the business. Tarak is an exceptional entrepreneur and I have greatly enjoyed working with him in my capacity as Chairman since 2017. I look forward to his continued support and input.”

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