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Staff made redundant as Retail Trust merges teams

Trade charity Retail Trust has restructured its events and marketing teams, resulting in redundancies for some of its longest-serving employees.

The charity, which runs five retirement home sites and offers support to almost 3 million people in UK retail, has cut five positions after merging its marketing, events and fundraising departments, including those of events manager Helen Nicell and head of events and community fundraising Nicola Moore.

This is the latest development at the charity - formerly called The Cottage Homes - since retail industry veteran John Lovering took over as chairman of its trustees in September 2011.

Nigel Rothband, who was chief executive for nine years, left abruptly in November 2012 to be replaced by Richard Boland, a former chief executive of Royal Doulton and Birthdays group.

Boland told Drapers that following a review of the fundraising and marketing teams, the redundancies had been made in “roles which have outlived their usefulness”.

The review was headed by fundraising and marketing director John English, who joined in February from Macmillan Cancer Support. Seven new roles have been created in fundraising and marketing during the past eight months, the charity said.

The five staff affected, some of whom worked at Retail Trust for 10 years, were given notice three weeks ago and four have left, with one redeployed internally. Although Boland said those affected had been offered alternative roles, Drapers understands that these were “considerable demotions” with much smaller salaries.

Retail Trust confirmed it intends to appoint an external digital marketing consultancy but denied a rumour that it was to outsource its events organising.

The charity’s consolidated income totalled £9m for the year ended April 30, 2012, an increase of £532,000 year on year. The operating surplus was £313,859, up from £148,705 in 2011. Its biggest fundraising event is its London Ball held every January, which has raised over £1m in some years, thanks to the support of leading retailers, notably Sir Philip Green.

The lingerie industry’s Contour Ball is also an important fundraiser.

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