FEATURE3 August 2022

Sound of success: Julie Abraham

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Long known for its customer service and employee retention rates, Richer Sounds is braving the perfect storm of Brexit, Covid-19 and the Ukraine conflict to attempt to emerge as a hero of the high street. Jane Simms catches up with chief executive Julie Abraham.

Julie Abraham portrait

Thirteen years – and counting – feels like a long apprenticeship. But Julie Abraham, anointed by Richer Sounds founder Julian Richer in 2009 as his eventual successor, has relished every day of it.

Eight years of close mentoring until Richer formally appointed her as chief executive in 2017 allowed her “to learn from everything Julian’s learned over the years”, she says, adding: “I feel very privileged to have had that opportunity.” As the company battles the fallout from the pandemic and Brexit, combined with the rising cost of living, the learning curve goes on.

Many entrepreneurs struggle to relinquish control of the companies they have founded, usually to the detriment of those businesses, but Richer has long been preoccupied with succession. The most tangible and high-profile manifestation of this was his decision, in May 2019, to transfer 60% of the shares in Richer Sounds, the hi-fi and TV retail chain he founded in 1978, to his employees. He had just ...