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Otto invests in UK brands

German mail order company Otto Group is to inject a significant cash sum into its UK operation, after deciding to hold on to the business following a strategic review.
Otto UK chief executive Mike Hancox told Drapers: “It was clear through the strategic review that we would either sell the whole business, close the business or keep it. We have decided to keep it.”

Otto UK owns mail order and online brands Freemans, Grattan, Kaleidoscope and Oli. It also owns distribution business Parcelnet.
Hancox said that Otto UK had made a profit of £5 million last year – the first profit the company had made in nine years, after significant online sales growth. Like-for-like sales were down 2%, compared with a 10% fall in previous years.

“Sales in the first half of the year stabilised but in the second half they grew. We finished the year strongly and gained market share from competitors,” he said.

Details of the scale of Otto Group’s investment and future plans for the UK business will be announced in the next fortnight, after a meeting in Germany next week between Hancox and Otto Group’s senior management.

Hancox added: “There will be a fair amount of change coming down the line but we’re not sure exactly what at present.”

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