Britains M&S Plans to Cut 7,000 Jobs in Latest Blow to Retail Sector

Retailer Marks & Spencer will cut a further 7,000 jobs, the company said on Tuesday, as the CCP virus crisis deals another blow to Britains beleaguered retail sector.

The jobs to go are in UK stores and within regional management, and will be cut over the next three months.

The clothing and home trading divisions in the companys stores remained weak last year, though online and home delivery sectors were strong, said the retailer, which has a UK workforce of about 78,000.

“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.

Reinvention

The 136-year-old M&S is seeking to reinvent itself after decades of failed attempts. In May, the company said the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus crisis would indelibly change its business.

M&S said in a statement then that it would accelerate its turnaround plan for a “more agile business in a world that will never be the same again” following the virus crisis that had made the previous years progress look like “ancient history.”

Marks and Spencer logo seen on an advertisement outside of a store in London
Marks and Spencer logo seen on an advertisement outside of a store in London
Pedestrians walk past a Marks & Spencers store on Oxford Street in London on April 12, 2001. (Sion Touhig/Newsmakers)

M&S said the virus crisis had shown that the company could work more flexibly and productively with more employees multitasking and switching between the food and clothing, and home divisions.

Sales had varied, across outlets, however, with traditional “legacy” stores in town centers and shopping centers being hit hard by low footfall and social distancing during the pandemic, it said.

Though some newer out-of-town outlets had not done as badly, reduced social gatherings and workplace closures during the lockdown period had affected dressing habits, triggering an unforeseen “substantial shift” in clothing sales from formal wear and office dressing to leisure and casual wear, it said.

Sales promotions were able to shift some surplus stock, and the company will “hibernate” other stock for sale next year, it said.

M&S said it was on track to launch an online food service next month through its partnership with online supermarket Ocado, which will include the launch of 500 new in-store products from its increased online range.

The companys increased use of technology to improve supply chain effectiveness, along with a new national food distribution warehouse in Milton Keynes, is also expected to assist profitability.

Last month, M&S shed 950 store management jobs affecting roles in central support areas and in property and store management.

The cuts add to thousands of job losses already announced by other major British retailers, including Boots, John Lewis, Dixons Carphone, and WH Smith.

Union Criticism

The new cuts have met with criticism from trade unions.

Usdaw, the trade union of shop, distributive, and allied workers, in an online petition statement called for M&S to engage in urgent talks to help “save jobs and restructure more responsibly.”

The online petition, directed at M&S Chief Executive Steve Rowe, says staff have been “kept in the dark” over the Read More – Source