- British retailer M&S plans to cut 7,000 jobs over the next three months – around a tenth of its workforce – in an attempt to offset a sales slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The job losses will hit stores across the UK, as well as its customer support centre and regional management.
- “It is clear that there has been a material shift in trade and whilst it is too early to predict with precision where a new post-COVID sales mix will settle, we must act now to reflect this change,” M&S said in a statement.
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British high-street retailer M&S said Tuesday that it will cut 7,000 jobs over the next three months to stem losses from its COVID-19 sales slump.
The job cuts will hit its central support centre, regional management, and its UK stores, M&S said. It expects to let go a “significant proportion” of jobs through voluntary departures and early retirement.
The cuts come on top of the 950 layoffs announced last month, which the retailer said would eliminate duplicate roles and provide “clearer leadership accountabilities.”
At the height of the pandemic, M&S warned that customers may never shop the same way again, and streamlined its management structure.
In its latest statement, M&S said that store closures, including at airports, initially caused food sales to slip, but once stores reopened, sales recovered slightly, and food sales have risen 2.5% in the past 13 weeks.
Clothing sales saw a “substantial shift” from formal wear to leisure wear, M&S said. In the last 13 weeks, total revenue in this segment was down 38.5%.
“It is clear that there has been a material shift in trade and whilst it is too early to predict with precision where a new post-COVID sales mix will settle, we must act now to reflect this change,” the retailer said in the statement.
M&S employs about 75,000 people, mostly based in the UK. The latest job cuts represent a loss of 9% of its workforce.
Separately, the UK’s high-end department store John Lewis, beauty retailer Boots, department store Harrods, sandwich chain Pret A Manger, and fast-food outlet Burger King also announced job cuts running into the thousands.