Esprit to cut jobs, products as part of turnaround plan

Esprit plans to reduce the line of products by up to 30 per cent and push for more neutral colours for clothing.
Esprit plans to reduce the line of products by up to 30 per cent and push for more neutral colours for clothing.PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Esprit Holdings will cut about 40 per cent 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 per cent 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 to HK$1.7 billion 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.