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Exclusive: Redundancies loom at N Brown

N Brown Group is consulting with around 120 members of staff over proposed job cuts, as part of its “strategic transformation”, Drapers can reveal. 

Around 120 roles have been placed into consultation across the Manchester-based head office and distribution facilities in Shaw and Hadfield. N Brown Group has around 2,400 employees in total. 

“In order to fulfil our ambition to become a truly digital retailer, we are beginning the next phase of strategic transformation across the organisation”, a spokesman for N Brown said. 

“As part of this, we are undertaking a number of difficult but necessary measures to operate a leaner organisational structure and support a stronger sustainable, growth in retail profitability. Regretfully, we have therefore informed colleagues that we are entering into an internal consultation which is expected to lead to a number of redundancies, affecting circa 5% of colleagues.”

He added: “We are consulting with those colleagues affected and will make every effort to support them in finding alternative roles across the business where possible and support them throughout the process.”

N Brown is currently undergoing a strategic review as it becomes a digitally focused, retail-led business. Last month CEO Steve Johnson said the review has “highlighted the need to have a tighter brand portfolio, a sharper focus on product and a cost base appropriate for delivering sustainable digital growth”. 

Last month N Brown Group brought Oasis managing director Sarah Welsh into the newly created role of retail CEO. Welsh will join the clothing and footwear retailer on 30 March and report directly to group CEO Steve Johnson. Former Jigsaw Group buying and merchandising director Shailina Parti has joined N Brown as interim chief product officer until Welsh takes over. N Brown’s chief product and supply officer, Ralph Tucker, left earlier this month to join homeware firm The Cotswold Company as CEO.

Meanwhile, the group has appointed airline Aer Lingus CFO Rachel Izzard as group chief financial officer, following the resignation of incumbent Craig Lovelace to take up a new position. Her start date has not yet been confirmed, and Lovelace will continue with his responsibilities in the interim. 

On 16 January N Brown Group issued a profit warning. The retail group, which owns Simply Be, Jacamo, Ambrose Wilson and JD Williams, now expects its full-year adjusted profit before tax to be in the range of £70m and £72m, down from the previous guidance of £78m to £84.1m. It blamed “a highly promotional market, lower financial services revenue and accounting changes”.

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