April 23, 2018 / 5:43 AM / in 6 months

Australia's Myer names ex-House of Fraser head as new CEO; shares jump

(Reuters) - Australia’s Myer Holdings (MYR.AX) has hired John King, a former head of British retailer House of Fraser, as its new chief executive as the nation’s biggest department store struggles against Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and other online competitors.

A customer is seen inside a retail store for Australia's Myer Holdings Ltd's in central Sydney, Australia, February 19, 2018. REUTERS/David Gray

Shares of Myer were up about 5.6 percent on Monday after the announcement, compared to a 0.3 percent rise in the wider market .

King’s hiring comes two months after Myer announced the unexpected departure of its last chief executive, Richard Umbers, and a month after it posted its biggest half yearly loss since listing.

Umbers had stepped down in February amid calls for a revamp of the company’s board from several shareholders, including from billionaire retail investor Solomon Lew.

Once a retail heavyweight in the world’s 12th largest economy, Myer has seen its market capitalisation shrink to less than a tenth of its 2009 listing value as it struggles to attract customers amid an explosion in online sales.

The 118-year old retailer’s woes have grown after

Amazon.com made its first foray into Australia last year.

The S&P Dow Jones Indices has also excluded Myer from the benchmark Australian Index since last month.

Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Byron Kaye and Muralikumar Anantharaman

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