Axe Looms For 1,000 Catalogue Firm Staff

“I supported the restructure of Otto’s UK business leading a variety of cost reduction projects across the organisation”

Sky News: 7 March 2009

Otto UK

Restructuring at Otto UK

More than 1,000 jobs could be lost at catalogue and home shopping giant Freemans Grattan Holdings, the firm has confirmed.

Bosses, who have begun consultation with unions and their 3,800 staff, said the company would close operations in Bradford, Peterborough and London.

The job losses were first mooted by union Usdaw back in January.

A spokeswoman for the company said: “The review of the business is still ongoing, but we can confirm that the proposals to close the Peterborough warehouse, Euston office and contact centre in Bradford have been accepted so have become reality.

“Employees in these areas are now moving into departmental and individual consultation.”

Freemans Grattan is the British division of Germany’s Otto, the world’s largest home shopping group.

The spokeswoman added: “We are still reviewing the rest of the business and cannot give numbers on remaining staff at other locations because we are still in collective consultation with them.

“All this is to enable the business to become stronger and more successful post-restructuring.”

The business review was instigated by chief executive Koert Tulleners, who joined the group in July.

Mr Tulleners has ruled out a sale of its brands, which include Oli and Freemans, but to save money is expected to move some of the work back to Otto’s Hamburg base, it was reported.

It is the latest of several traditional home shopping firms which have tried to cut overheads as sales migrate online.

The news comes as job fears intensify for staff at fashion chain Principles as it apppeared its administrator had failed to find a buyer for the majority of its stores.