Indian fashion etailer Koovs has axed most of its UK buying and merchandising team as part of a wider company restructure, Drapers understands.
The exact size of the UK team, which is based in London, is not known, but it is thought to comprise more than half a dozen people. Those affected by the redundancies – thought to be below head of buying level – left the business on October 9, sources said.
One representative of a young fashion brand stocked at Koovs said: “I don’t think they have axed the lot, but yes, there have been redundancies.” Orders have not been affected, she added.
Roy Naismith, group CFO at Koovs told Drapers some positions have been moved back to India.
“We are an Indian business and the UK office was set up as a design office to provide strategic direction over buying and merchandising. In order to ensure that this focus is maintained at the appropriate level, some roles within buying and merchandising have been moved back to the Koovs offices in India. This has resulted in some headcount reduction in the UK.”
It comes after the business reported a loss of 922.6m Indian rupees (£9.4m) for the year to March 31, despite a 272% increase in sales to 266 million rupees (£2.7m). It said profits were hit by higher-than-expected marketing costs as the Indian ecommerce market is growing “at an unprecedented rate”.
One brand that manufactures in India said there was an “online fashion war” happening in the country: “The potential is massive, so expect losses and consolidation. Amazon is aggressively targeting this market and appears to have bottomless pockets where debt is concerned.”
Koovs caters for 16- to 35-year-old men and women with its eponymous own label, as well as third-party Western brands including Guess, New Look, Oasis and Nike.
It has hired a number of ex-Asos.com staff since its launch in 2012. Emma Reed, who joined Koovs as head of menswear buying in 2013, was head of men’s and kids’ wear buying at Asos from 2005 to 2010. Drapers understands her job has not been affected by the redundancies.
Mary Turner, who was a non-executive director at Asos from 2009 to 2013, has held the same position at Koovs since July 2014 and became chief executive on October 1 2015.
Asos product director Robert Bready joined Koovs as creative and retail director in January 2013. He worked at Asos from 2005 to 2012.