MARKS and Spencer has announced plans to axe 950 jobs as part of a huge shake-up of management and head office roles.
The retailer has become the latest casualty of the struggling UK high street, following in the footsteps of John Lewis, Boots, Debenhams and Ted Baker in revealing job cuts.
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M&S confirmed its sales have been hit by the coronavirus lockdown.
The high street retailer said the proposed restructure will help move the company to “a leaner, faster retail management structure”.
A consultation process will now follow with affected employees, although M&S said it will look for voluntary redundancies first.
It said the cuts are set to impact roles in the company’s head office, property and store management areas.
But sources also told Sky News over the weekend that several thousand more jobs could go as chief executive Steve Rowe ramps up an ongoing restructure of the business.
M&S first announced it would accelerate these plans in May this year – although the retailer has yet to confirm any other job cuts at this stage.
About 27,000 M&S employees, out of a total of 78,000, have been furloughed by the company under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
The majority of M&S food stores have remained open during lockdown, although some of its clothing outlets were shut after the government ordered all “non-essential” retailers to temporarily close.
A total of 260 combined clothing and home shops have reopened in England, while 25 clothing-only shops also opened their doors.
M&S has around 950 shops in the UK.
The high street giant isn’t the only retailer to announce struggles following the spread of Covid-19.
Over the weekend, fashion giant Ted Baker said it was cutting 500 jobs across its retail and head office sectors.
It comes after John Lewis revealed it was closing eight stores putting 1,300 jobs at risk, while Boots has announced 4,000 jobs will be cut.
Pret a Manger has also announced it will close 30 shops, while Cath Kidston and Laura Ashley have already collapsed.
It comes as the Centre for Retail Research predicts that 20,000 shops could close for good this year.
We’ve got a full round-up of all the shops and restaurants that have gone bust here.
M&S has recently started reopening some of its cafes for dine-in customers.
Sacha Berendji, director of retail, operations and property at M&S, said: “Our proposals reflect an important next step in our Never The Same Again programme to accelerate our transformation and become a stronger, leaner and more resilient business.
“Through the crisis we have seen how we can work faster and more flexibly by empowering store teams and it’s essential that we embed that way of working.
“Our priority now is to support all those affected through the consultation process and beyond.”