Icelandic investor Baugur is to strengthen the management teams at some of its key fashion retailers to help its brands ride out the challenging trading environment.

The changes affect brands including those in its Mosaic Fashions empire, value fashion brand MKOne and All Saints.

Baugur chief executive Gunnar Sigurdsson told Retail Week: “The [Mosaic] brands are in a good position to do well in this market. We are not involved in a massive reorganisation, but we will strengthen the management teams.”

The biggest changes are at Mosaic, where heads are being appointed for each of the major brands. Liz Shipwright has been made managing director of Coast in the first of the appointments.

Responsibility for the brands have been split, with Mosaic chief executive Derek Lovelock overseeing boutique brands Coast, Karen Millen, Odille and Anoushka G.

Deputy chief executive Mike Shearwood is taking responsibility for high street brands Warehouse, Principles and Oasis, where a new operations chief is being sought, following the departure of retail operations director Jackie Nolan.

Other key changes within Baugur’s brands include:

  1. Suet Cheung, buying director at Baugur’s struggling value fashion chain MKOne, has left the retailer.

  2. Baugur is understood to have reshuffled its senior team at All Saints, but the management were unavailable for comment as Retail Week went to press.

  3. Former Topshop director Karyn Fenn is expected to join Jane Shepherdson at Whistles, which demerged from Mosaic earlier this month, in which Baugur has a majority stake.

  4. Shoe Studio Group chief executive John Egan will step down from his role at the footwear group in March.

Separately, Baugur dampened speculation that MKOne has hit financial difficulties and said it was fully behind the brand and its management, headed by chief executive Dominic Galvin.

Sigurdsson said: “We believe in the business. The management are battling a legacy of issues, but we believe in the concept and it will be successful.”

He added that acquisition opportunities remain for Baugur in the UK, despite the downturn. “The portfolio is placed to create value for us and we spend a lot of time with management teams to drive them forward across channels,” he said.

“There are definitely opportunities for new concepts, but we will be selective.”

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