Lisa Hooker appointed PwC Industry Leader for Retail

31 October 2017 Consultancy.uk

Lisa Hooker has been appointed PwC’s Leader of Industry for Retail, Consumer, Hospitality & Leisure. While retail and leisure M&A value have reached pre-crisis levels, implying that industry players have become hot-property once more, a struggling Pound and Brexit uncertainty mean PwC’s clients in the sector are likely to remain targets of further investment, as overseas investors look to take advantage of favourable exchange rates.

London was the most sought after city for retail investment in Europe last year, with 65 new brands arriving in the UK capital. Meanwhile, global Merger and Acquisitions (M&A) value in the consumer and retail sector hit its peak recently at $469 billion, on the back of growing mega deals in the sector – with Europe seeing the biggest increase in deals, largely on the back of the AB lnBev's $107 billion acquisition of London-headquartered SABMiller. Businesses in the retail, consumer and hospitality & leisure sectors are braced for further such activity, meanwhile, as the value of the Pound continues to falter. As a result, consultants in the sector will likely need to fortify their offerings with respect to M&A advisory services.

In order to do just that, PwC, the world’s largest consultancy, has announced the promotion of Lisa Hooker to the position of Industry Leader in the firm’s UK Retail, Consumer, Hospitality and Leisure Markets wing. The new head of the segment has worked in Transaction Services for more than 20 years. Hooker joined PwC in 2004, focusing primarily on due diligence for M&A activity in the retail, consumer and leisure sectors. During her 13 year spell with the Big Four firm, she has worked with clients from the UK as well as international companies from as far as Germany, Denmark, Norway and Lebanon. Top names Hooker has worked with in retail include Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Iceland, Somerfield, while in the consumer sector she has performed due diligence for famous brands including Doc Martens, and Cath Kidston, and in leisure, with Whitbread/Costa Coffee, Yo Sushi, TGi Fridays and LA Fitness, among others. Hooker holds a BA in Managerial Economics, which she obtained from Liverpool University in 1989.

Lisa Hooker

Following her appointment, Hooker, who will operate from PwC’s London office, said, “Our primary objective for the R&C, H&L UK practice is to help clients adapt, grow and be resilient to face the challenges of revenue growth, cost reduction and productivity in addition to addressing risks such as Cyber and investment areas, including technology. R&C and H&L companies are facing many headwinds such as subdued consumer spending, inflation and increased regulation such as GDPR, against a backdrop of economic and political uncertainty.  To grow they need to take market share and drive productivity, which is becoming increasingly challenging for businesses in those sectors.”

She added that developments in technology were also accelerating their impact on the staffing and operation of companies in future, which will have important implications for the sector.

“With ever-evolving ways to shop such as market places, subscription models, the connected home and data analytics companies integrating data to make purchasing suggestions, major questions are being raised as to who will ultimately ‘own’ the consumer,” Hooker concluded.

Dan Schwarzmann, Head of Market Initiatives and Industries at PwC, said, "Our retail and consumer practice is a vital part of PwC's industry offering. I am delighted Lisa has taken on the leadership of our UK practice. The team are focused on working alongside our clients and supporting them to manage change and thrive in the coming years.”

PwC recently appointed two new directors in its Hull practice as part of the firm’s continued commitment to increasing the capability and level of specialisms within the region. The consultancy has been making efforts to foster talent internally, as well as bringing new staff in to supplement its workforce. Victoria Coe has been promoted to director within the External Assurance practice, while Jonathan Lloyd was promoted to director within Compliance Services Accounting.

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