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Exclusive: House of Fraser swings axe on fashion teams

House of Fraser has axed four merchandising directors and placed a significant proportion of its buying and merchandising teams into consultation amid a shake-up of its brand strategy, Drapers understands. 

According to sources, director of merchandising womenswear Chris Pitts is to leave his role along with Michaela Wray, director of merchandising for home, Rob Parkin, director of merchandising for mens and childrenswear and Carol Pennicott, merchandising director for fashion accessories. 

Drapers also understands that House of Fraser is dropping eight of its 11 own-brand labels, with only Biba, Issa and Linea Home to remain beyond autumn 18.

Drapers has ed HoF for comment. 

In a statement on 21 June HoF said it will focus on the “best selection” of contemporary brands, exclusivity and an agile response to trends as it battles to keep with consumers. 

David Walker-Smith, chief product and trading officer, said: “Since joining House of Fraser, I have worked with the team to review our current product offering and what became crystal clear is our customers love brands. Customers now want more from their shopping experience as a business, we need to make sure we are exceeding expectations.”

Creditors, including landlords, are due to vote on HoF’s company voluntary arrangement (CVA) plans on 22 June. The 31 store closures, which include its Oxford Street flagship, will affect 6,000 members of staff.

 

Readers' comments (7)

  • Maybe the Merchandising leadership team at HoF needed refreshing, but to take all of that knowledge out in one go could prove fatal. Also, talk about stating something everyone already knew already with ‘our customer loves brands’!

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  • Agreed. Saying 'Customers now want more from their shopping experience......we need to make sure we are exceeding expectations' is just parroting some current clichés. No real insight.

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  • One of the key focuses in the recently broadcast HoF strategy is
    "Trading the business properly".
    Here's what that looks like, evidently.

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  • Shake up of brand strategy? Did this really get quoted?

    Properly up the creek and with a blouse for a paddle.

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  • This is just a gesture to try to show changes are happening in order to help push through the CVA.

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  • what a load of tosh, 'we need to win the consumer' really is this the line from the saviour laughable ..

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  • wrong strategy. As a customer I can buy all these brands anywhere, what I love about HOF are their own brands including Howick, Linea, Criminal etc, which is for me the main point of difference. And why are all the merchandising team being sacked and the buying team left in post. Madness. This will NOT save this company. Time for a new director of tradinging and product IMO.

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