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Freemans owner moves buying

Freemans Grattan Holdings (FGH), the UK parent company behind home shopping firms Freemans and Grattan, is to relocate the bulk of its buying for Freemans and Grattan to Germany, following a restructuring of its UK operation, as predicted by Drapers (November 14, 2008).

However, it will retain one buying office in Bradford which will focus on its fast fashion offer for its etail business Oli. It will also house the home shopping business Kaleidoscope’s buying team. FGH will also retain a call centre in Sheffield and a warehouse in Bradford.

FGH chief executive Koert Tulleners said: “We will be looking much closer at our partnership with buyers in Germany and combining assortments where appropriate.
A large part of the fashion offer for Freemans and Grattan will now be purchased from Germany.”

Tulleners said that moving some of the purchasing functions to Germany meant the business would benefit from the greater buying power associated with its German parent company, Otto Group. The UK operation will also benefit from a reduction in costs.

Tulleners has already slashed 1,000 jobs from the 3,800 UK workforce, as part of a cost-cutting drive designed to help FGH weather the recession. He said: “The company was over-staffed and over-managed. It is not a reaction to the recession. It is something that should have been done 10 years ago. We are putting new structures in place to make FGH a more sustainable business.”

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