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Modern furniture and design specialist The Conran Shop has bolstered its management with the appointment of the former md of fashion chain Urban Outfitters Europe.


Hugh Wahla joined the Conran board in recent weeks, a Conran Shop spokesman confirmed to the Furnishing Report, though they did not say it what capacity he had joined the business. He is believed to have joined as CEO.


Mr Wahla spent the best part of two decades with Urban Outfitters, the US-owned trendy clothing brand, and was promoted to md from buying and trading director in 2008. He reportedly left the fashion retailer last summer.


The Conran Shop spokesman also confirmed that Fiona Wood, global finance director for The Conran Shop, had left the board, though they said the appointment of Mr Wahla and the departure of Ms Wood were completely separate and unrelated.


New accounts for The Conran Shop parent company Conran Holdings — which besides retail includes its architecture, design and licensing arms — show the group recorded a £1.1m pre-tax loss (2014: profit of £4.2m) for the year to end March on group revenue down 5.1 per cent to £37.7m.


On an underlying basis, that represented an improvement, with exceptionals impacting both years. The 2013–14 figures included the positive impact of a £6.4m exceptional profit on the disposal of its share in its restaurants business, while the latest year’s figures are negatively impacted by a product recall (see related).


Conran Holding’s retail turnover declined 3.6 per cent to £30.3m, though the division narrowed its underlying EBITDA deficit to £1.5m (2014: £3.6m). That reflected improved sales and margins in all areas except for its Conran Shop store in Paris.


The Conran Shop has just opened its first concession, at Selfridges Oxford Street (also, see related) in London.


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