House of Fraser has lost two senior executives as the new management's 100-day review puts the kidswear department under the microscope.
Womenswear director Katherine Horsfall left the company just before Christmas, while operations director Steve Hibbert is now working only on a consultative basis. They follow the departures of former chief executive John Coleman and ex-finance director David Adams.
June Lawlor, who headed accessories buying for HoF, has now taken on the whole of womenswear.
As part of the new management's business review, it has decided to slash 26 kidswear labels from its portfolio from spring 07, leaving it with 24. It is unclear which kidswear brands are to go, but it will retain Ted Baker, Elle, Bench and Hooch.
Director of menswear and childrenswear Allan Winstanley said the retailer is rationalising its portfolio but broadening the offering within each brand. He declined to say which brands would stay and which would go, but pointed out: "We're giving brands more individual space through branded shop-in-shops."
The new kidswear concept is being trialled in its London Oxford Street store and follows a similar overhaul of HoF's menswear department. The Oxford Street store removed some of its mainstream brands last August to give more space to top performers, with new brands Filippa K and J Lindeberg, and contemporary brands Paul Smith, Diesel and G-Star receiving new shopfits.
HoF chairman Don McCarthy said: "What we are doing in kidswear is part of a strategy review across fashion. We need a point of difference. We are comfortable with menswear, but womenswear needs more work." It is believed the brands cull in womenswear has started with short-order young fashion labels.
McCarthy said trading, which was up 7.3% for the Christmas period, was still strong as the Sale continued. "I'm very comfortable with trading, though I think February will be tough for everyone."
HoF was bought in November by a consortium led by Baugur.