Freemans Grattan proposes “significant” redundancies


Freemans Grattan proposes “significant” redundancies

Freemans Grattan Holdings (FGH), formerly known as Otto UK, last
month revealed proposals to significantly restructure and
streamline its business. The company, which in addition to the
Freemans and Grattan catalogues operates the Kaleidoscope,
Montage, and Oli brands, is to enter into consultation with
unions and staff representatives.

In an interview with Catalogue/e-business, chief
executive Koert Tulleners outlined proposals to close one of the
company’s two contact centres, warehouses in Peterborough and
Bradford, the London buying office, and 18 clearance stores. It
may also relocate its remaining warehouse to smaller premises
once the organisation is slimmed down.

As the above proposals are subject to a 90-day consultation
period, Tulleners was unable to provide an estimate as to how
many positions will be cut, though all 3,800 employees have been
informed that their jobs may be affected. He did emphasise that
though the UK job losses would be “significant”, it
did not mean work would be migrating to Germany, where parent
company Otto Group is based.

“The UK will be firmly in charge of the UK business,”
Tulleners stressed. To that end, he disclosed proposals to move
the business toward a “business unit structure”, so
that each unit will be run from the UK by newly appointed
directors. The new units will be Kaleidoscope, to be run by
Oliver MacConnell; Oli/Montage, which Karen Hazeldine will
oversee; and the agency titles-Freemans and Grattan-for which
Diane Fowler will be brand director.

Tulleners said that the restructuring was necessary to return the
business-which had been experiencing “fairly substantial
losses” for the past few years-to profitability. FGH also
needs to fully embrace eCommerce, he added. Of all its brands,
Oli-founded in 2007 as an etailer, with print catalogues serving
largely as traffic drivers-is the “most exciting in terms
of future development”. He added that despite the business
being in a cost-cutting phase, “funds will be freed
up” to further grow Oli and the eCommerce side of the
business.

 

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