In an extraordinary move, three senior marketing posts at MFI have been axed, including that of marketing director Neil Palfreeman.
MFI is understood not to be looking for replacements. Instead it will hand over entire marketing responsibility and control of its 25m advertising account to David Tracey, its merchandising director.
The posts of marketing manager, held by Michael Graham, and advertising executive, held by Ian Fox, were axed last week in what MFI describes as a “reorganisation” of its marketing and merchandising department.
Palfreeman, who has worked for the company for eight years, left because of disagreements over this “reorganisation” and MFI’s future strategy. None of the individuals have jobs lined up.
“Neil Palfreeman, the marketing director for MFI Furniture Centres, felt unable to support the way the company was developing its new retail strategy and the reorganisation of the marketing and merchandising department that went with it,” says an MFI spokesman.
The group will not comment further on strategy or reasons for the reshuffle, saying it is in its closed period before financial results are announced. Observers comment that axing such senior dedicated marketing roles is extraordinary in a market which is heavily fought on advertising and marketing.
MFI is currently investing heavily in marketing as it converts its 168 stores to the new Homeworks fascia.
Despite the success of the introduction of the Homeworks stores, some analysts voiced fears for MFI, which is due to announce its results next month.
“The Homeworks are doing better than the old MFI stores but whether that is enough to stem poor sales in the rest of the group is a moot point,” says Roy Maconochie of Henderson Crossthwaite.