Otto UK, the parent company of the Freemans, Grattan, Montage and
Oli catalogues, confirmed it has begun a strategic review of its
businesses. The group has hired KPMG to consider a range of
options, including “substantial investment in the home
shopping sector and/or the high-street retail sector”.
Otto UK was formed in 2001 when two divisions of the Otto
Group-Grattan (acquired in 1991) and Freemans (acquired in
1999)-were brought together. Otto UK employs 6,000 people in the
UK and has four main sites, in Bradford, Sheffield, Peterborough
and London; 15 distribution depots; and 25 catalogue discount
stores. It has a turnover of roughly £635 million.
CEO Mike Hancox said in a statement, “This is a difficult
market, and it is a constant challenge to all in the business to
remain efficient and effective. We are in a better position now
than we have been for two years to achieve this.” Hancox
had previously told Catalogue/e-business that he expects to have
introduced or be ready to discuss another new brand by Christmas 2008. At that time, Hancox said he hadn’t ruled
out acquisitions or investments in other companies.