Argos has gone to the US for its new managing director. Best Buy and Sears multichannel veteran John Walden will start in the job at the end of February. He replaces Sara Weller, who left the role last June for personal reasons.
The role is a key one in the UK multichannel retail industry, since Argos is one of the UK’s largest players in the sector, ranked second in the IMRG/Experian Hitwise Hot 100 list of most-visited online sites.
Walden’s experience includes a stint as chief operating officer for US supermarket Peapod when it pioneered online grocery retailing in the mid 1990s. In 1999 he joined Best Buy Co, spending eight years as executive vice president responsible for areas including the internet and direct channels division. He moved on to a similar role at Sears, where he led internet, catalogue and home services teams, as well as handling marketing, merchandising and the development of new concepts.
Terry Duddy, Home Retail group chief executive, said: “I am delighted John is joining the team; he brings with him a wealth of multichannel retail and technology-related business experience at senior levels within a range of both large retail organisations and smaller entrepreneurial enterprises.
“We look forward to John bringing a valuable, fresh perspective to the future development of Argos.”
John Walden said: “I am excited by the opportunity to lead the Argos business. I’m particularly looking forward to working with the Argos team to drive its leading position in multichannel retailing.”
Walden joins at a challenging time for the Argos business. Although its online business is growing fast, with more than 40% of its sales now made online, its latest trading statement showed a 7.8% fall in sales to £1.7bn in the 18 weeks to December 31. Sales have been hit by a lack of consumer confidence, leading shoppers to avoid spending on Argos’ core consumer electronics category.