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Peacocks talent plugs gaps at Jane Norman

Owner Edinburgh Woollen Mill hands senior buying and merchandising roles to value chain’s staff.

Women’s young fashion retailer Jane Norman is filling senior buying and merchandising roles with employees from value chain Peacocks following an exodus from its top team.

Buying and merchandising director Sarah O’Shea is understood to have left Jane Norman in July – just two months after joining from Irish retailer A-Wear.

Head of merchandising Jacqueline Kennedy has left within the last fortnight, while head of buying Emma Benjafield is working out her notice.

All three positions are being filled by full-time Peacocks staff. O’Shea’s responsibilities are being overseen by Peacocks buying and design director Sue Swannie, while the roles vacated by Kennedy and Benjafield are being taken on by their respective counterparts at Peacocks, Charlotte Rennison and Debbie Ball.

However, the two retailers’ parent company Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM), which bought both businesses out of administration – Jane Norman in June 2011 and Peacocks this February – said they remained distinct.

EWM chief executive Philip Day told Drapers the Peacocks team was “actually more senior than the people in those positions previously”, adding that O’Shea had been hired only on a temporary two-month contract. 

There are no plans to recruit direct replacements for these roles, although Day said he was open to working with the best talent available.

“I am always looking for the best, and if I meet suitable people then obviously I will ensure we have roles for them,” he said. “At the moment it is difficult to say what other roles may come up within Jane Norman. I want to wait until we have finalised plans for the business and completed the office move.” revealed this week that Jane Norman was shutting its London head office and relocating the team to Peacocks’ HQ in Cardiff.

Any of the 40-strong head office team not wishing to make the 150-mile move to Wales will face redundancy, but Day said he was confident a large number would remain at the company.

He added that the business was planning to find another location in London within the next 18 months, which could house employees from “any of our businesses”. 

“It is just a case of finding the right location and that can take some time,” he said. “The move to Cardiff is nothing about cost-cutting – our lease in London was coming to an end, so it was always part of the plan. It makes sense to locate the business alongside Peacocks.” 

Day also brushed off rumours that Jane Norman could re-enter administration, instead hinting at expansion plans that include 25 international openings within the next year, as well as the launch of a store refit programme, starting with its Oxford Street branch in February.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Speaking from within Jane Norman head office, most of the 54 staff will not be making the move to Cardiff so will subsequently be made redundant. The extra jobs created in Cardiff will be to replace the current team!

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