Jaeger has put its head office team in consultation as part of a review of its business, Drapers can exclusively reveal.
The retailer, now under managing director Carolyn Springett, is changing its business model to outsource more of its design and development to help it achieve greater efficiency. As a result, it will need to reassess its skill base and staff requirements.
It is understood that around 25 roles at head office – from design and quality assurance to buying and merchandising – are subject to review, with staff thought to be under a 30-day consultation period. Consolidation of some head office functions is possible.
The review does not necessarily mean redundancies, according to a source close to the business.
Springett, former brand and supply chain director, stepped up as managing director at the beginning of the year, taking over from chief executive Belinda Earl. Earl has not been in the business since last November due to ill health and is focusing on her recovery. She remains as non-executive director, with Jaeger chairman Harold Tillman having executive leadership.
Tillman told Drapers in January that despite a £1.4m drop in pre-tax profit, the underlying business remained on track and profitable, with the fall accounted for by exceptional one-off costs, including the end of Jaeger’s licensing deal in Japan.
A statement from Jaeger on the review said: “Following the appointment of Carolyn Springett as managing director of Jaeger in January 2012, and as on-going good business practice, Jaeger is undertaking a comprehensive review of its operations both in the UK and internationally.
“Over the past five years Jaeger has consistently delivered top-line growth, has introduced three new sub-brands in addition to a new line of accessories and opened franchise operations in Russia and the Middle East. In addition, the group has developed a very successful online sales platform. However, in line with many other retailers, performance in late 2011 suffered from the unusually warm weather and the economic pressures facing the consumer in the UK continue to be challenging.
“Taking all of this into consideration, while we still have a solid UK business to support, the Board has taken the strategic decision to focus growth investment on its international franchise partnerships, brand licenses and its online business. As a result of this strategic shift, we are considering consolidating certain head office functions. This does not affect store staff.”
Verdict’s latest womenswear report, published yesterday, suggested that mounting pressure on margins in womenswear is forcing retailers across the board to revise their business strategies.