M&S to cut 7,000 jobs over next three months

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LONDON: Marks & Spencer is cutting 7,000 jobs over the next three months across its stores and management. It said the coronavirus pandemic had made it clear there had been a “material shift in trade”. In-store sales of clothing and home goods were “well below” 2019, although online and home deliveries were strong, BBC has reported.

M&S said it hoped a “significant proportion” of the cuts – about a tenth of its workforce – will be voluntary redundancy and early retirement. In a statement, M&S said it was “too early to predict with precision where a new post-Covid sales mix will settle. We must now act to reflect this change”.

But the retailer said operating during the pandemic had showed it could work “more flexibly and productively”, with more staff multi-tasking and moving between food, clothing and home departments.

M&S said total sales in its hard-hit clothing and home arm plunged 29.9% in the eight weeks since shops reopened, with store sales tumbling 47.9% and online surging 39.2%. In the last 13 weeks, food sales have increased by 2.5%.

At the height of lockdown, M&S boss Steve Rowe said customers might “never shop the same way again” after the coronavirus crisis.Retail Economics chief executive Richard Lim said the cuts represented a “massive reduction” in the M&S workforce. The retailer was “desperately attempting to reposition the business towards a new-normal emerging in the sector”.