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Managing Stakeholder Relationships

Stakeholder engagement and collaboration has been intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic owing to increased interaction required by most stakeholder groups to address challenges that in many cases have been encountered for the first time, and are concerns to stakeholders due to the possible impact on the Group’s business continuity and sustainability.

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis the Group’s stakeholder relationship programme has continued to focus primarily on the five stakeholder groups, namely:

Management assesses the quality of these relationships on an ongoing basis to ensure the Group understands, considers and responds to the legitimate needs and interests of these stakeholders.

A five-point internal rating scale is applied by management
for each primary stakeholder group:


Five point internal rating scale

Rationale for engaging: Shareholders are the Group’s principal providers of financial capital. Engagement is focused on local and international institutional and private investors as well as fund managers and analysts. The Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, together with senior Finance management team members, are responsible for shareholder engagement.

Key engagement

Response to
engagement issues

Ongoing impact of COVID-19 and related restrictions on trading, supply chain and the debtors book within Truworths.

Management regularly communicates responsibly and fairly with all investors to highlight the impact of changing lockdown regulations on customer behaviour, trading patterns and performance. Updates have been provided to investors in the interim and annual results presentations, trading updates on SENS and through regular engagement with shareholders and analysts, with management highlighting the sustained recovery in performance post the hard lockdown.

Progress with the turnaround programme in Office and the Group’s plans to ensure the long-term viability of Office.

The Group remains committed to maximising the value of its investment in Office. COVID-19 continued to impact on Office’s turnaround strategy as stores across the UK were closed for a total of 18 weeks due to lockdown. The turnaround gained traction in 2021 with good progress in relation to the staff redundancy programme, continued rationalisation of the store portfolio with a 22% reduction in trading space, and significant progress on inventory management with improved margins.

Succession management.

Succession management has been an important issue for investors in recent years. As part of the board’s succession strategy, two new non-executive and independent board members were appointed, the Audit Committee membership was changed and a new chairman was appointed to the Remuneration Committee. An executive director of the Group, Sarah Proudfoot, was appointed to the newly created position of Deputy Managing Director of Truworths Ltd in January 2021. Emanuel Cristaudo, previously an independent non-executive director, was appointed as an executive director and Chief Financial Officer with effect from 1 July 2021. Seven further executives were appointed as directors of Truworths Ltd to increase the pool of succession candidates. Succession is a key board agenda item and is addressed by management in all investor presentations and engagements with the market.