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Arnotts boss plans overhaul of store

Mark Schwartz, the newly appointed chairman of Arnotts, has reassured suppliers that payments will return to being “on time” but warned that he was rethinking the entire brand mix at the Dublin department store.

Schwartz told Drapers: “In the past, supplier payments got stretched, but we have new financing that will keep us current with suppliers and finance growth.”

Having identified Arnotts’ core customer as a working woman who shopped across designer labels and the high street, Schwartz said he was also reviewing the product mix. He said: “We are bringing in Thomas Pink, Reiss, Aquascutum and Lauren by Ralph Lauren for autumn. There will be changes. Some brands will be eased out.”

Separately, Schwartz said he was also assessing the senior management team, led by chief executive David Riddiford. But he stressed there would be no changes to the buying teams, which are led by director of fashion and cosmetics Deirdre Devaney and head of menswear Valerie O’Neill.

Schwartz, who is chief executive of financial firm Palladin Capital Group, was appointed Arnotts chairman by Anglo Irish Bank and Ulster Bank, which took ownership of the debt-laden department store on Monday. He has been consulting at the business for several months, along with Nigel Blow, former chief executive of Irish department store business Brown Thomas.

Irish department store Arnotts is to receive €10m (£8.2m) in additional working capital from its banks, Anglo Irish and Ulster Bank, to help support the company, according to reports. Earlier this year the banks provided Arnotts with €12m (£9.9m) in new working capital.

Schwartz, the newly appointed chairman of Arnotts, told The Irish Times the new funding would help support the company.

“It is more than sufficient to support the working capital needs of Arnotts for the foreseeable future,” he said.

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