Arnu Misra has been appointed interim ceo of Nisa Retail, following Nick Read’s decision to stand down.

Misra has been an independent non-executive director at Nisa since November 2016. Prior to that he held senior executive roles at Matalan, Asda, and Loblaw’s in Canada, and also spent six years as ceo of private equity-backed Cannons Health prior to its sale to Nuffield Health.

The appointment comes on the back of positive sales growth for the first half of the year to 1 October 2017. Sales grew 12.4% during the half to £728m, driven by strong growth in new stores and member recruitment. A total of 409 new stores were serviced by the group during the half-year, of which 210 were from the McColl’s roll-out of former Co-op stores, a net increase of 284. Like-for-like sales were up 1.9%, with tobacco sales falling 2.7% and non-tobacco sales reaching £505m during the half-year.

Commenting on the half year results and interim CEO announcement, Nisa chairman Peter Hartley said: “I am pleased to report strong trading in the first six months of the year. We have continued to serve our existing Members well, and as a result new Member recruitment has shown significant gains.

“We are delighted to have Arnu as interim CEO; he has a wealth of retail experience and is ideally placed to lead Nisa as we seek to optimise the service, benefits and opportunities we can bring our Members.”

Arnu Misra added: “I am pleased to be leading Nisa at a time of great change for the convenience sector as top-up shopping continues to increase. I have spent many years working in the retail industry and am looking forward to drawing on this experience to provide Nisa Members with an exceptional value proposition that delivers for their customers.

“I am pleased to see strong new Member recruitment in our H1 numbers and look forward to a busy final quarter, as the important festive trading season draws near.”