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New UK concept planned in Freemans Grattan overhaul

Freemans Grattan Holdings (FGH), the home-shopping firm formerly known as Otto UK, plans to launch a new concept in the UK this year as part of a massive restructuring and overhaul of the business.

FGH chief executive Koert Tulleners said he was examining brands from within parent company Otto Group’s portfolio to bring to the UK. He said: “I am looking at new brands and concepts for the group. There are lots of opportunities in the UK market.”

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). It owns fashion brands including Bonprix, Baur and Heine.
FGH is also a major shareholder in UK school uniform etailer www.yourschooluniform.com, and Tulleners said he was looking for similar investments.

Earlier this month, Tulleners kicked off a 90-day consultation period with FGH’s 3,800 staff, as part of a plan to dramatically downsize the firm. It is unclear how many jobs will be lost.

Tulleners said he had already overhauled the management structure and split the company into separate business units. Diane Fowler, previously director of marketing for the Freemans brand, has been appointed business unit director for Freemans and Grattan. Oliver MacConnell, previously an executive at Otto Group, is now business unit director for older women’s brand Kaleidoscope. Karen Hazeldine, former marketing controller for womenswear etailer Oli, is now Oli’s business unit director.

Tulleners said: “I wanted to create independent companies within the group and a fast-moving culture within the company. I’ve slimmed down the board and created new positions for the purpose of becoming more dynamic. I am flattening the structure. It was far too bureaucratic before.”

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