Home entertainment retailer Richer Sounds moves to employee ownership model

‘It’s incredibly exciting times and allows our colleagues to feel even more connected to the company’

Richer Sounds, which sells hi-fi, home cinema and other entertainment equipment, has made the switch to an employee-ownership trust.

Founder and managing director Julian Richer is transferring 60% of his shares into the trust.

He said: “I have always planned to leave my company in trust on my death for the benefit of the colleagues in the business. Having hit the ripe old age of 60 in March, I felt the time was right, rather than leaving it until I’m not around, to ensure that the transition goes smoothly and I can be part of it.”

Mr Richer plans to stay involved with the business, but leaves the day-to-day running to its existing management board, along with a colleagues’ advisory council and trustees.

The management board is made up of longstanding directors, the newest of whom has served for 25 years, and the colleagues’ advisory council will be chaired by a trustee and made up of employee, to represent their interests and concerns.

Richer Sounds says the trust “will operate according to a set of principles within the trust to make sure that Richer Sounds continues to operate in a responsible manner, and is based on honesty, commitment, trust and respect.

“These principles ensure that the company continues along the lines that Richer has built the company on for the previous 40 years.”

Company chair David Robinson, who is overseeing the transition, said, “It’s incredibly exciting times and allows our colleagues to feel even more connected to the company. They have a real stake in the success of the business and can take pride in knowing that they are shareholders, building for the future.”

Deb Oxley, chief executive of the Employee Ownership Association, welcomed the news.

She said: “We congratulate Richer Sounds on its transition to employee ownership: another great brand bringing employee ownership to the high street. We’re delighted to see it secure its future independence with a focus on its people and an eye on the future world – a world with a more inclusive economy and where more businesses are doing well while doing good.”