The offices consisted of two rooms in a terraced house in Lavender Sweep, London employing 12 staff. Catalogues had around 200 pages and goods were illustrated using black and white drawings.
Grattan founded by John Fattorini, selling mainly jewellery. When the business began to flourish, he started to sell through catalogues to increase the customer base.
In 1943 war shortages meant that no household items were available, only clothing. Coupon rates were introduced as a way to pay for Freemans clothes.
Freemans had expanded rapidly with the post-war boom, with over 7000 parcels a day being dispatched, many paid for on credit. Freemans was by now competing with the leading department stores of the day, selling a wide range of consumer goods in its full colour catalogue of over 1000 pages.
Grattan and Freemans develop
The Grattan main office was built at Anchor House, on Ingleby Road in Bradford.
Freemans became a public company and the following year installed its first computer.
Freemans Supply Chain Grows
Freemans opened an automated distribution centre at Peterborough, the largest warehouse in Europe at the time. They then became the first company to post goods in plastic packaging.
More Innovation at Freemans
Freemans became the first home shopping company in the UK to introduce a telephone ordering service for its agents.
Grattan was bought by Next plc for £300 Million.
Freemans was acquired by Sears plc and became one of the country’s largest retail organisations.
In the 1990s Grattan was the UK’s fourth largest mail order firm. However following a postal strike and the recession of the early 1990s, its parent company Next desperately needed to refinance and put Grattan on the market.
In 1991 Otto Versand outbid Sears plc to acquire Grattan.
Freemans Goes Digital
Freemans launched its shopping website www.freemans.com
OTTO Acquires Freemans
Otto Versand paid around £150 million to acquire Freemans from Sears plc.
FGH is born
The administration divisions of the Otto Group’s two British subsidiaries, Freemans and Grattan, were joined under the umbrella brand OTTO UK in 2000. Otto UK is re-branded to Freemans Grattan Holdings.
Curvissa is launched, providing style for women sized 14-32 with the simple aim to help our customers feel good every day.
Swimwear365 is launched, offering the UK’s largest online swimwear range and holiday fashion essentials for all the family.
More brands launched!
Clearance 365 is launched, providing discounts on many fabulous fashion, accessory, footwear and home brands all year round.
Look Again is re-launched, packed with inspiration for a fashionable wardrobe and home.
Lascana is launched – the ultimate destination for sensual lingerie, nightwear and shapewear.
Gifts365 is launched, offering a fantastic range of inspired, stylish and unique gifts for all occasions – all year round.
Apps launched for Look Again, bonprix, Kaleidoscope and WITT, providing new ways for our customers to shop on the move.