Harrods to cut 700 jobs

  • Harrods is cutting nearly 700 jobs after struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • The planned 680 job cuts equates to around 14% of its total workforce
  • CEO Michael Ward says areas of the business most impacted by the lockdown face job losses

By guest author Elias Jahshan from Retail Gazette

Harrods is poised to make almost 700 staff members redundant after the luxury department store conceded it has struggled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In an email circulated to Harrods staff yesterday, Harrods chief executive Michael Ward said 680 jobs out of its 4800-strong workforce – or around 14  % – will be axed.

Ward said the job cuts would come “in parts of the business that have been most affected by the challenges of lockdown”.

“With a heavy-heart, today I need to confirm that due to the ongoing impacts of this pandemic, we as a business will need to make reductions to our workforce,” Ward said.

He went on to say that it would take a “drastic improvement in external conditions” for Harrods to recover and return to growth.

He also blamed the cuts on social distancing and lack of tourists, with the latter being a major revenue generator for the retailer.

“The necessary social-distancing requirements to protect employees and customers is having a huge impact on our ability to trade, while the devastation in international travel has meant we have lost key customers coming to our store and frontline operations,” Ward said.

He added: “I am sorry to say that after exploring every option available, we now recognise that we need to make changes to our operational structure.”

Jobs in parts of the store that remain closed, including beauty services and cafes, are expected to be among those to go.

Harrods is one of many retailers to have faced financial pressure during the pandemic,  with its flagship store in Knightsbridge being forced to shut for three months as part of a nationwide lockdown.

This month, the luxury retailer is set to open its first outlet store in Westfield London, as a way to shift excess stock that had built up during lockdown.