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Published:  23 July, 2008

By David Williams

Oddbins senior buyer Tony Allen has become the second high-profile member of the retailer's buying department to leave the company in the space of a week. Allen, who follows fellow senior buyer Grant Ramage, who announced his departure in the wake of Oddbins' International Wine Challenge (IWC) triumph (Harpers, 10 September), has accepted a redundancy package after 11 years with the company. He plans to move into consultancy, working on a number of projects with South African producer Bruce Jack of Flagstone Winery and setting up his own marketing/brand development company, called Winefrog. Allen had been a buyer for Oddbins for eight years and, before leaving, his areas of responsibility were South America, South Africa, US, Germany, Portugal, fortified wine and beer. His departure, along with that of Ramage, reduces the number of buyers in the team to two for the time being - Lynne Coyle (head of buying) and James Forbes (assistant buyer responsible for Austria). Coyle said she was currently in the process of interviewing a number of senior, experienced retail buyers' to replace Allen and Ramage, and that a decision would be made shortly'. Coyle added that Oddbins is revising the structure of the department and only one appointment will be made to replace the two departees. Allen said: It was great to finish on a high note, having won the High Street Chain award at the IWC, which was the key target and challenge which Grant and I set out for at the beginning of the year. I have just completely revamped the German and Portuguese ranges (as I did two years ago with South Africa) and look forward to seeing them on the shelf and buying them as an Oddbins customer.'