Sir David Jones is to step down as the executive chairman of JJB Sports, the sports equipment retailer he saved from collapse last year, because of continuing problems with his health.
Sir David, who is best known for rescuing Next in the 1990s, has been battling Parkinson's disease since 1982. JJB, which yesterday reported a sharp slump in sales at the end of last year caused by stock problems, said Sir David would stay on the board as a non-executive director after he hands over the reins on Sunday. He joined the retailer in October 2007.
As part of a wider shake-up of its board, JJB is also hiring Sir Matthew Pinsent, the four-times Olympic gold medal rowing champion, and David Adams, chairman both of the troubled camera retailer Jessops and the gentlemen's outfitter Moss Bros, as non-executive directors.
John Clare, JJB's senior independent director and a former chief executive of the Currys owner DSGi, will meanwhile act as chairman at the sports equipment retailer until a permanent replacement for Sir David is found. Mr Clare will in effect run the company until its new chief executive, Keith Jones, takes up his post on 1 March. Mr Jones was the group retail director at DSGi, where worked with Mr Clare.
JJB also revealed yesterday that its like-for-like sales had plummeted by 28 per cent over the 52 weeks to 24 January, dragged down by huge stock shortages which developed during its financial crisis last year.
But the company said its underlying sales had improved from being down by 37 per cent in August to only 21 per cent lower in January, and vowed that its shops would be fully stocked by the end of April.