Selfridges has told staff it plans to cut 450 jobs as it warned annual sales are expected to be “significantly less” than last year due to the pandemic.

The upmarket retailer said it will reduce its total headcount by 14 per cent to cope with the impact of the virus and subsequent lockdown.

Brown Thomas and Arnotts forms part of the Selfridges Group which also controls Holt Renfrew in Canada and de Bijenkorf in the Netherlands. The group is owned by Canadian billionaires Galen and Hilary Weston.

In a message to staff, group managing director Anne Pitcher warned the recovery will be “slow”, stressing 2020 will be “the toughest year we have experienced in our recent history”.

She said: “As you would expect at such a critical time, we have been carefully examining every aspect of our business — our structures, our costs, our ways of working — from top to bottom, leaving no stone unturned to ensure we are fit for purpose and the future.

“This has involved reviewing all non-essential expenses as well as pausing projects and initiatives where prudent to do so.

“The task ahead is significant and, as we look to reinvent retail and prepare to build back, we will need to go further.”

She added: “As a family business, the hardest decisions are the ones that affect our people, which is why it pains me to share news today of the toughest decision we have ever had to take that we will, very regrettably, need to make a 14 per cent net reduction in our overall headcount, approximately 450 roles.” – PA

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