NEW YORK — After adding two major jeans brands to its fashion lineup this year, Jones Apparel Group management is rethinking the role of the Todd Oldham Jeans brand.

Sources close to the company told WWD that the employees working on the Todd Oldham line were moved into different functions within Jones on Thursday.

Anita Britt, executive vice president of finance for Jones did not comment specifically on staff changes, but said: "It’s an extremely small business for us right now and we are evaluating various options." Executives who had worked on the line could not be reached for comment.

Jones has repositioned the Todd Oldham Jeans line several times since first launching it under the TO2 moniker in February 1998 — back when Oldham was designing a signature line of apparel.

However, Jones’ recent wave of acquisitions in the denim arena may have added some redundancies in its denim lineup. This year, Jones has added the LEI brand of junior moderate jeans and the Gloria Vanderbilt jeans lines, including the junior Glo brand, to its jeans stable, which also includes Polo Jeans Co.

Observers suggested that the company may be thinking about trying to capitalize on the recent success of the Oldham name at the mass channel — the designer this year launched a line of home products for college students at Target stores.

Jones bought the worldwide rights to the Todd Oldham brand in apparel, footwear, cosmetics and accessories in February 1999.

Jones executives have said they’re looking for an entry into the mass channel. At an investor conference in New York last month, president and chief executive Peter Boneparth said the $40-billion-budget apparel area represents the biggest piece of the apparel market and added that "it’s a challenge for us to figure out how to reach that consumer."

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