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Exclusive: Staff face axe as Sports Direct shuts Firetrap head office

More than 150 staff at Firetrap are being made redundant as the fallout from Sports Direct’s plans for the young fashion brand continues.

Drapers understands most of the 170-strong workforce are now in consultation over their positions at the company, with the process set to be completed on January 31.

Sources said the reduced team of about 12 people will move to an office on Regent Street when they leave Firetrap’s head office in Acton, west London, next week. The brand’s northern showroom in Manchester has already closed, with staff at present working remotely from their own homes.

“There are a shedload of people leaving,” one source told Drapers. “By the end of it, there’ll be about a dozen people staying on.”

The move to cut jobs follows the upheaval in Firetrap’s strategy that parent company Sports Direct instigated in the autumn.

The Mike Ashley-owned sportswear business began selling Firetrap product for less than the wholesale price, both in store and online, from November 1.

The items were made in different factories to the usual product, enabling Sports Direct to charge up to 75% less than recommended retail prices.

The move angered many in the indie community, as it was seen as undercutting those stockists who had remained loyal to the brand since it was
taken over by Sports Direct in March.

Firetrap is now expected to cease its wholesale operations next year, with third-party stockists refusing to take any more Firetrap product.

Some have attempted to return remaining autumn 12 product, claiming they are unable to compete with the discounts on offer, but all have been told theywill have to pay for these orders as normal.

In a letter, sent in October and seen by Drapers, Firetrap drew stockists’ attention to the young fashion brand’s terms and conditions, which state that cancellations can only be made within seven days of the order being placed.

At least one Firetrap stockist is understood to be considering legal action.

As Drapers went to press, Sports Direct had yet to respond.

 

Readers' comments (4)

  • Guess this leaves Duck and Cover poised to take a bit of the Firetrap market. Duck and Cover has always been compared to Firetrap on Denims..........as well as the pricepoints on rest of the collection ,but the quality Duck and Cover delivery is far superior to FIretrap .Duck and Cover should shout loudier and emulate Firetrap ---use your sell throughs over the last few years!!!!

    Any other brands that one can replace Firetrap..........???as a stockist of Firetrap i would like to hear from other stockist if there is a alternative.

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  • Firetrap reminds me of Peter Werth in the sense that it was a brand that doesn't need replacing, which is often the case when a brand has hit the buffers.

    Duck & Cover is indeed superior to Firetrap and are a pleasure to deal with when compared to the often delusional, now defunct WDT. Most of the Firetrap boys either went more upmarket or moved on the real nail in Firetrap's coffin - Superdry.

    Indies should be looking for new brands that are nothing like Firetrap, instead of mourning what was all intent and purpose, a very 90's brand.

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  • Duck and Cover should be a bit more subtle with thier own PR ! On a serious note its really not fair on the Firetrap staff who face a very uncertain time after being told a big pack of lies all year. But it's par for the course for SD.

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  • www.Anthony&Brown.co.uk

    Sad for the staff at Firetrap, but inevitable after SD took charge. Taking the place of firetrap, I would like to see more people buying into the smaller brands. But as above I could imagine they will buy into Duck & Cover and increase their ranges of other brands they are already stocking.

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