QUIZ, the Scottish fast-fashion retailer popular with younger women, has confirmed that its founder and chief executive Tarak Ramzan will step down as part of a boardroom shake-up that will see its non-executive chairman Peter Cowgill take a more active key role in driving the business forward.

Mr Ramzan, who leaves his role with immediate effect, remains the company’s largest shareholder and will assume a non-executive director role with his son Sheraz Ramzan moving from chief commercial officer to chief executive to “recalibrate the brand, its product offering, and reconnect with consumers with the aim of moving the business back into profitable growth”.

In a trading update yesterday, Glasgow-headquartered Quiz said that consistent with trends experienced earlier in the financial year, saw “UK sales continue to be impacted by subdued levels of traffic both in-store and online”. Sales from January 1 to February 29, 2024 amounted to £8.6 million, a £0.9m or 9% reduction on the prior year’s period from January 1 to February 28, 2023.

Meanwhile, cumulative sales from April 1 last year to February 29 this year were £74.4m, a £10.3m – 12% – reduction – on the previous year’s period from April 1, 2022 to February 28, 2023.

Quiz warns of losses as inflationary crisis cuts into sales

However, it added that it was encouraged by the recent increase in demand for its wares in international markets, which accounts for over 10% of revenue. Quiz singled out Saudi Arabia following the establishment of a new franchise partnership with the Al Othaim Group. “In addition, there has been a positive uplift in demand from our partners in the United States as this business becomes more established,” it stated.

While Tarak Ramzan will “remain available to the business as required, to ensure a smooth handover of responsibilities” and has agreed to waive 50% of the payments contractually due to him with regards to his notice period and will waive any fees due as a non-executive director for the next 12 months, the board will continue to search for at least one additional independent non-executive director following Charlotte O’Sullivan’s departure last November.

In Peter Cowgill, Quiz is tapping into over 30 years’ retail expertise, notably at JD Sports where as executive chairman he was instrumental in driving international expansion and building a successful online business for the high-street trainers specialist. In his beefed-up role, he will support the company through to conclusion of the ongoing review of strategic options and Sheraz's transition into his new role.

“The UK apparel market has undergone significant well-reported changes since Quiz’s IPO in 2017 and it continues to evolve at pace,” Mr Cowgill noted. “The board changes provide an opportunity for a fresh vision and new leadership approach to create value for all shareholders.

“I look forward to working closely with Sheraz, following his well-deserved promotion to CEO, to determine the optimum path forward for the business.”

Describing Tarak Ramzan as an “exceptional entrepreneur”, he added: “I have greatly enjoyed working with him in my capacity as chairman since 2017. I look forward to his continued support and input as a non-executive director and major shareholder.”

Meanwhile, the firm said that Sheraz Ramzan “brings a fresh approach along with extensive experience and knowledge of the business”, adding: “He will implement a turnaround strategy to recalibrate the Quiz brand, its product offering, and reconnect with consumers with the aim of moving the business back into profitable growth.”

Quiz, which recently launched a new omni-channel retail platform, is by no means the only retailer caught in the crosshairs of a cost of living crisis which means hard-pressed consumers have less to spend on discretionary purchases. Last year, it referenced the inflationary cost pressures which have continued to impact consumer confidence and demand for its products.

However, it said that once fully implemented, its new retailer platform will “allow for an improved omni-channel experience for customers and help maximise revenues and optimise the management of stock across the Quiz business”.

Quiz sees sales fall as retail consortium warns on outlook

Quiz told investors: “The group is taking a number of positive steps to counter the impact of the declining revenues including targeting cost savings for the forthcoming year, eliminating loss making activities, reviewing operational efficiencies, and optimising its product offer.”

Set up in Glasgow in 1993, Quiz debuted on London’s Alternative Investment Market (Aim) in 2017 with a flotation value of £200m compared with a current market cap of just over £6m. The Ramzan family was elevated to the ranks of Scotland’s richest after selling a combined £92m stake in the business.

The retailer, which deals mainly in occasion, party and dressy wear for a younger audience, has 73 stores and 174 concessions in the UK, and employs more than 1,500 people in the UK and Ireland alone.