The fate of store designs being implemented at WH Smith was thrown into doubt last week with the sudden departure of Peter Bamford, managing director of WH Smith Retail, after ten years with the company.
Bamford, managing director for the past three years, left last Friday. Retail analyst Nick Bubb of Mees Pierson says Bamford’s resignation may have been related to store design. “There was a lack of conviction on which format to go with,” says Bubb. “It reflected badly on Bamford.”
Current store formats at WH Smith were designed by Davies Baron, using facias developed from work carried out by CDT.
No replacement for Bamford has yet been found. Group chief executive Bill Cockburn will work directly with senior retail management until an appointment is made. It is possible that, when appointed, the new managing director will make a mark on trading formats.