Matalan, the value chain, is to close its London buying office and move its buying operations back to its Lancashire headquarters.

Retail Week has learned that the value chain is in consultation with its womenswear buying team in the London office, which opened three years ago to launch own-label womenswear brands including Be Beau and Soon. It is unclear how many people are affected.

Matalan stressed that the decision was not a cost-savings exercise. Matalan said it kicked off a review of its womenswear business and structure in both London and Skelmersdale where the business is based. It identified that the buying function would be strengthened by being in one location.

In a statement Matalan said: “In order to continue to grow and maximise our opportunities, we believe that this proposal will support the company strategy, enable us to further grow the womenswear brands and protect the business for the future. 

“Colleagues will be consulted with fully and there will be an opportunity for people to be considered for redeployment within the head office based team.”

On April 1, Matalan told its bondholders that it was likely to appoint former Asda executive Darren Blackhurst as chief executive on May 9. It also outlined plans to issue £250m of senior secure notes to pay down debt and secured a £50m revolving credit facility.

Meanwhile, today it emerged that New Look was courting former Matalan chief executive Alistair McGeorge for the role of executive chairman at the value chain.