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USDAW Union steps in over Frasers Group planned merger of Studio Retail, I Saw It First and Missguided


Retail workers’ union USDAW has stepped in over threatened jobs as Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group presses ahead with a planned merger of Studio Retail, Missguided and I Saw It First.

Lancashire-based Studio Retail was acquired out of administration by Frasers in February, owing over £80m to its creditors.

Manchester’s Missguided was also acquired out of administration in a £20m deal in June 2022 while I Saw It First, which is also based in Manchester, was bought the following month for £1 after debts rose to £13m.

Frasers Group has informed employees that it is planning to merge the operations of all three brands, with job losses likely as it achieves “significant cost efficiencies.”

Julia Baldwin, USDAW area organiser, said in a statement: “It is extremely disappointing that, after last year’s large-scale restructuring, the company has again announced further changes affecting mainly the same staff.

“The timing is difficult, particularly in a cost of living crisis. Employees at Studio are loyal to the company, many with long service and have demonstrated their commitment by relocating across the group.

“A second group consultation meeting is planned with the company, where we will make robust and meaningful challenges on behalf of our members.

“USDAW has also called for emergency meetings with our members to ensure they are fully represented and supported through this difficult time.”

Studio Retail chief executive Paul Kendrick told staff in a letter: “Studio and USDAW work well together as a partnership and have a mutual respect for each other’s position, and, as always, colleagues will be at the centre of the conversation.

“I know you will all appreciate that this may be an unsettling time for a number of our colleagues, and I ask you all to please be mindful of this.”

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