Ratner's salary slashed as group attacks costs

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Gerald Ratner, chief executive of the jewellery retailing group and one of Britain's highest-paid executives, has been forced to take a substantial pay cut. On Friday, Ratners reported a loss of pounds 122.3m for 1991.

Mr Ratner, who was paid pounds 616,000 in 1990 when he was both chairman and chief executive, had his salary reduced when he relinquished the chairmanship. He has now had to take a much larger cut, believed to be well over pounds 100,000. There has also been a huge drop in the performance-related part of his pay following the losses.

The pay reduction is part of a programme of swingeing cost cuts across the group. 'There has been a review of all costs from the shop floor to the boardroom,' said Jim McAdam, who became chairman of the group last January.

Mr Ratner has denied suggestions that he might soon be leaving the group following sharp criticism of his performance by Mr McAdam last week. 'What I have in mind is carrying on and restoring the company's fortunes, however long it takes.'

Ratners said on Friday that it is having to close 330 jewellery shops in Britain and the US with the loss of about 2,500 jobs over the next three years. It has also reached agreement with its banks, led by Barclays, to extend pounds 460m of credit facilities to next June. This should enable it to repay the pounds 58m convertible bond issue which falls due in November.

The chairman said much of the fall in Ratners' sales was due to adverse publicity after Gerald Ratner's description of one of his store's products as 'total crap'.

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