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Matalan makes buying redundancies following review

Matalan is making around 15 to 20 buying and merchandising and marketing staff redundant following a review, Drapers understands.

The company confirmed “a number of changes” are being made, but declined to say how many or which roles are affected. Sources have told Drapers the buying and merchandising roles are across both the men’s and womenswear teams.

A Matalan spokesman said: “As a business, we continuously review the effectiveness of our operations. In a year where we have delivered a significant successful supply chain programme, as well as shortly completing the transition to our new head office, a recent review has resulted in the need to announce a number of changes to improve processes, drive clarity and support the delivery of further efficiencies.

“We are making strong progress and are well placed to deliver the EBITDA growth as aligned to our recent third quarter statement.”

Some sources suggested the cuts might be linked to Matalan’s recent sales performance, but the retailer has strongly refuted this. In January, Matalan reported sales were down 7.7% to £298m for the 13 weeks to November 29. However, it said it expected EBITDA growth for the full year to March 1 of around 5%.

One supplier said: “The biggest problem Matalan has is location; they struggle to attract high-level buyers away from London.”

The company - which has more than 200 branches across the UK, employs 1,200 in total and has annual sales of about £1.1bn - is in the process of relocating its head office from Skelmersdale, west Lancashire, to the town of Kirkby in Knowsley, Merseyside.

The majority of head office staff will have moved by Friday, with the directors expected to follow next week.

Matalan is owned by its founder John Hargreaves and his son, Jason, is managing director. Its 15,000 sq ft store at 149-151 Oxford Street, London, is due to open this spring.

Last year it began rolling out a new supply chain programme, which allows a portion of its stock to be replenished in specified sizes, reducing the quantity of stock per store and frequency and size of markdowns.

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