Cosmetics retailer Virgin Vie has made redundancies in its retail
and marketing departments as it refocuses resources on its direct
The retailer has admitted that the Virgin name has not been as much of
an incentive as it first thought.
Keith Jones, retail director, left the company last week along with the
head of retail, Carol Bolton, plus the technical manager and two product
managers. Sales and marketing manager Ros Simmons is unaffected by the
changes. Jones’ is the only position being replaced.
’We have 2000 consultants visiting customers homes and want to put more
strength behind that. However, we are not swapping lanes, just
refocusing,’ said Virgin Vie managing director, Mark Warom. He added
that the current six stores are being redesigned to make them less
The chain, owned by Victory Corporation, which is itself part-owned by
the Virgin Group, has been underperforming since its launch last
Victory reported a pounds 10m loss in August and stated that it will not
break even until 2001 - 12 months later than envisaged.
Expansion plans have also been slowed down, with only four more stores
launching this year. The company intended to open 14 in 1998 to add to
its current six, as part of its aim to have 100 stores in five
But the firm is backing its four new stores in Ireland, Norwich and
Bristol with a press and poster campaign, starting in two weeks.
’When we launched we were advised that we didn’t need to advertise
because we could trade on the strength of the Virgin name. While this
may have generated awareness, it wasn’t sufficient to differentiate the
brand. To have a greater voice in the market we need to pull together
the full marketing mix,’ said Simmons.
Last year’s London launches were backed by a two-week cinema ad by Quiet