M&S confirms 950 staff at risk of job cuts

By guest author Elias Jahshan from Retail Gazette

  • M&S confirms plans to make hundreds of staff redundant
  • 950 jobs are at risk as part of plans to reduce store management and head office roles
  • M&S’s ongoing transformation plan is being accelerated after being disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic

Caption courtesy by Retail Gazette

Marks & Spencer has confirmed that 950 jobs are at risk of being as part of plans to reduce store management and head office roles.

The high street retailer said the proposals would help move the company to “a leaner, faster retail management structure” as it accelerates its ongoing transformation plan, which had been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

M&S said it has started collective consultation with employee representatives and has set out plans to first offer voluntary redundancy to affected staff.

The retailer also said the cuts were set to impact roles in its head office, property and store management areas.

“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,” M&S retail, operations and property director Sacha Berendji said.

“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.”

M&S had furloughed 27000 of its 78000 employees under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to discourage companies from laying off workers.

Thousands of them have returned to work since lockdown for non-essential retail was lifted last month, although the retailer did not provide a precise number.

M&S is also yet to confirm if it would reject the Chancellor’s recent offer of a GBP 1000 bonus for every furloughed employee who resumes working.

Speculation that M&S was planning on job cuts arose overnight.

The retailer also joins a fast-growing list of businesses that have announced redundancy rounds – whether they are part of a restructure or a wider insolvency process – as they try to mitigate the financial impact of the pandemic.

Other retailers that gone down this path already include John Lewis Partnership, Boots, Harrods, Ted Baker, Burberry, DFS, WHSmith, Arcadia Group, TM Lewin, Mulberry, Travis Perkins, The Very Group, Quiz, Debenhams, Monsoon Accessorize and Intu.