November 26, 2018 / 4:02 PM / 17 days ago

Esprit to cut jobs, products as part of turnaround plan

FILE PHOTO: Passers-by walk past Esprit's flagship store at Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district in Hong Kong November 27, 2013. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

(Reuters) - Esprit Holdings Ltd (0330.HK) will cut about 40 percent of its non-store jobs and reduce the number of products its sells in stores as the fashion group restructures in the wake of tough competition from online and fast-fashion retailers.

The company said it plans to reduce the line of products by up to 30 percent and push for more neutral colours, such as black, white, grey and beige for clothing.

“Esprit has changed maybe too much ... And we don’t know what we stand for,” the Europe-focused retailer said in an investor presentation on Monday. “We’ve lost touch with our audience.”

Esprit, founded in 1968, said the restructuring is expected to cost HK$1.5 billion (149.41 million pounds) to HK$1.7 billion (169.34 million pounds) in the 2018-2019 financial year amid a broader move to close stores that are losing money.

The company, whose stock has nearly halved in value so far this year, employed over 6,400 full-time staff as of June 30, but did not specify how many were non-store employees.

Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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