Home shopping firm Freemans Grattan Holdings (FGH), formerly known as Otto UK, has confirmed more than 1,000 jobs will go at the company as part of a cost cutting drive designed to put the business in a stronger position to trade through the recession.
FGH Holdings chief executive Koert Tulleners told Drapers: “We are finalising consultations now, but I can confirm we are closing a warehouse in Peterborough, our office in London and a call centre in Bradford. This will affect more than 1,000 jobs.”
It is unclear exactly what roles are affected but the London office did house some of the buying and merchandising teams and is also home to Oli, FGH’s young fashion etail venture.
Tulleners said the decision to downsize the UK business would make the company more cost efficient. “I firmly believe in the UK market and the business will be in a stronger position for the future,” he said.
“I firmly believe in the UK market and the business will be in a stronger position for the future.”
FGH Holdings chief executive Koert Tulleners
On January 14, Drapers revealed that FGH Holdings had kicked off a 90-day consultation with its entire 3,800 workforce. Tulleners declined to comment on whether there would be further job cuts at the company.
Separately Tulleners said that he planned to soft launch Heines and Apart, two womenswear brands which are owned by FGH’s German parent company Otto Group.
Tulleners described Heines as an “elegant, casualwear brand” which appealed to an older customer base. Apart caters for the young professional.
A small range of Heines product has already been tested in the UK market via FGH’s Kaleidoscope catalogue.
However, Tulleners said “a substantial number of pages” within Kaleidoscope would now be dedicated to both Heines and Apart.
He said: “Heines is a very successful catalogue company, but we are not bringing the whole catalogue, we are bringing parts of it to trial. The UK is a different market to Germany. We are selecting a few brands, and testing the market to see how they work. If the trials prove successful, we could look to launch standalone catalogues for both brands.”
Apart is due to debut in the Kaleidoscope catalogue next season.
Otto Group is the world’s largest home-shopping firm with a presence in more than 30 countries and sales of €11.51 billion (£10.69bn).