Christopher Adams

Christopher Adams is the Retail, Innovation and Manufacturing reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

High flyers lift Pumpkin Patch board

Rod Duke's Briscoe Group has become a sharemarket and retail darling, posting record profits. Photo / Paul Estcourt
Rod Duke's Briscoe Group has become a sharemarket and retail darling, posting record profits. Photo / Paul Estcourt

Briscoe Group boss Rod Duke, who will join Pumpkin Patch's board as a non-executive director in June, says he has been disappointed with the children's clothing retailer's performance over the past few years.

But he said the company, in which he owns an almost 10 per cent stake, still had potential.

"I think we all want to see it do well," Duke said yesterday after his appointment to the board was announced.

"And I'd like to get some of my money back."

Pumpkin Patch shares closed up 2c at 88c yesterday, having fallen from a high of $4.95 in early 2007.

The company has been badly affected by the global financial crisis and its ill-fated forays into the United States and Britain, where it has closed all itsstores.

Pumpkin Patch posted a 48 per cent drop in half-year profit, excluding reorganisation costs, in March.

Duke said everyone involved with Pumpkin Patch had been disappointed with its recent performance.

In sharp contrast, Duke's NZX-listed Briscoe Group - which operates Briscoes, Rebel Sport and Living & Giving stores - has become a retail darling, capturing market share from competitors and posting record profits.

Last month Briscoe announced it would pay a special dividend of 10c a share, which will earn a windfall of about $16.7 million for Duke, the firm's controlling shareholder.

Pumpkin Patch also announced yesterday that Peter Schuyt, a director of a number of organisations including Tatua Dairy Company and Landcare Research, would join the retailer's board in August as an independent non-executive director.

Chairwoman Jane Freeman said that the company was delighted to have two high-calibre directors joining its board.

"Rod's retail, supply chain and procurement experience is well known and we are looking forward to him using that experience to support the company execute its long-term strategies in those critical areas of our business."

She said Schuyt had "considerable commercial executive finance experience".

"He has spent many years with organisations that operate international distribution models [and] this experience will be invaluable as Pumpkin Patch follows its international growth strategies into the future."

Freeman said independent director David Jackson would not seek re-election at this year's annual meeting.

Schuyt would be appointed chairman of the firm's audit and risk committee when Jackson stood down.

- NZ Herald

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