Jarrold’s MD gets new group role

The managing director of Jarrold's retailing business is to take on a new over-arching role within the group as part of a new strategy to seek out fresh growth opportunities.

Peter Mitchell, who has been managing director of the Jarrold retail division sine 2004, has been appointed group managing director of the family-run business taking on responsibility for two other divisions, Jarrold Training, and St James' Facilities Management.

Mr Mitchell will continue to report to chairman David Hill, who manages Jarrold's various property interests, including the on-going development of the St. James Place office scheme in Norwich.

But he will be tasked with developing the two other divisions, while also keeping an eye on new opportunities within the retail business, similar to those which saw Jarrolds take over the Pilch store last year.

Last year saw record sales for the retail business, which enjoys a �30m turnover, and Mr Mitchell said the ambition to was to become a �50m retail business.

But this year saw Jarrold close, its Lowestoft store because of a downturn in trade - however Mr Mitchell said his new role was not part of a 'defensive move'.

Peter Mitchell, said: 'Retail business is what we are best know for and our strategy over the last seven or eight years has been to refresh our stores and create something we believe blends some of the best values of the traditional business with some very modern and contemporary sales lines.

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'We are going to carry on investing in the retail business, but we have got a great business in the B2B sector. Jarrold Training has got the potential to be a bigger business than it is at the moment. It's a very well run business, but it's probably been in the shadow of the retail and property businesses.

With our increasing role in property development and running those buildings for tenants we realised there were opportunities in the facilities management business and that's got a new focus.

'We benefit from a strong balance sheet, even in these difficult times, which gives us the strength to go after growth I see my appointment as giving it a chance to look more ambitiously at opportunities in the region. I'm going to looking at these existing businesses and see how we can take them forward to another level.'

Mr Hill said: 'We see an exciting opportunity at Jarrold to develop our existing trading businesses. Not just our higher-profile retail business but also in the B2B services sector where our Training business and our FM businesses both have very interesting potential. In his new role as group managing director, Peter will identify how best to unlock those opportunities, and accelerate our ambitions to invest in other related areas'.