Why Pentland Is Cutting Hundreds of Jobs + Focusing on Core Brands

Pentland Brands is the latest fashion and footwear group to implement hundreds of layoffs amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The privately-owned retail and wholesale business has announced plans to “hibernate” Boxfresh, the London-based streetwear sneaker brand it snapped up in 2006, as well as “resize its support functions.” According to the company, roughly 350 jobs will be lost as part of the move. It added that it was “in consultation” with its teams and has shared the news with employees.

“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,” CEO Andy Long said in a statement, “but our focus right now is on supporting those people impacted.”

In an effort to refocus its brand portfolio, Pentland has also kicked off a strategic review that includes changes to its business: The London-based company expects to “drive an increased emphasis on sustainability” and look for “bigger opportunities” for its core brands, which include SeaVees, Speedo, Berghaus, Canterbury of New Zealand, Endura and Ellesse. (It is also the licensee for Kickers in the U.K. and has a joint venture partnership for Lacoste footwear.)

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What’s more, Pentland intends to invest even more in its technology and digital platforms, including the expansion of the PentlandConnect.com website, which allows retailers to check their inventories in real time and directly place brand orders around the clock.

“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 to 18 months,” Long added. “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.”

Pentland joins a long roster of industry leaders that have resorted to job cuts as the coronavirus pandemic batters the economy and threatens to change consumer spending habits. So far, department store chain Macy’s and sportswear giant Nike are among the boldface names that have announced permanent terminations in an effort to bolster their businesses or shift resources toward more profitable departments.

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