Pentland Brands is to make around 350 jobs cuts as part of a strategic review of the business that will see it “hibernate” the Boxfresh brand and resize its support functions.
The UK company said the changes to its business will drive an increased emphasis on sustainability and bigger opportunities for its core brands; Speedo, Berghaus, Endura, Canterbury, Mitre, Ellesse, Kickers, and SeaVees.
As part of the review, Pentland said it will hibernate its Boxfresh brand and, to reflect its more focused brand portfolio and reduced licensed footwear business, it also plans to resize its support functions. The company said it has shared the plans with employees, and is now in consultation with its teams, but expects there to be around 350 redundancies.
Pentland also plans to invest in its technology and digital platforms, including further expansion of the Pentland Brands retail customer website which enables retailers to check stock in real-time and place brand orders directly 24/7.
“While our strategic review started before the Covid-19 pandemic, we know the crisis will have a major impact on our business for, at least, the next 12-18 months,” said CEO Andy Long. “As a result, we’ve looked more deeply at the needs of the business and the fundamental and sustained changes that are required to thrive in the long-term.
“We know this is going to be a difficult time for our teams, and we’ll be incredibly sad to see some really talented people leave our business over the next few months, but our focus right now is on supporting those people impacted.”
Asked about a time frame and the number of redundancies attributed to the hibernation of Boxfresh, a spokesperson for Pentland told just-style: “It’s difficult to attribute proposed redundancies for Boxfresh as some roles work across a number of brands and, as we’re in consultation with employees, we’re not able in a position to share details as things may change.”
The hibernation will take place after the spring/summer 2020 season, the company said.
The urban brand was created in 1989, acquired by Pentland in 2006, and was quick to build a strong direct and distributor business, selling footwear and apparel across 40 markets. However, Boxfresh now mainly trades in Germany and across a few selected retailers in the UK.
Marc Greene, brand director, added: “While Boxfresh has continued to make a positive contribution to the Pentland Brands business, in recent years its sales have declined and – as all businesses look to reprioritise their operations post the Covid-19 crisis – we have decided to hibernate the Boxfresh brand.”
The Boxfresh websites, which paused trading in March so that its distribution centres could implement safety and social distancing measures, has resumed trading and will continue to do so until the end of 2020.