M&S to scrap 7000 jobs

By guest author Sahar Nazir from Retail Gazette

Caption courtesy by Retail Gazette
  • M&S will cut 7000 jobs over the next 3 months as part of a radical shake-up
  • The plans came after the retailer witnessed a “material shift” in trade
  • M&S booked a 30 % drop in clothing and home sales in the past eight weeks, whereas food sales grew 2.5 %

Marks & Spencer has confirmed it will axe a total of 7000 jobs over the next three months as part of its efforts to transform the business amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The job cuts are expected to take place across its stores, regional management and its support centre.

M&S said the plans came after seeing a “material shift” in trade.

The job cuts are in addition to the 950 cuts revealed last month where it sought to make changes to its management structures.

The embattled retailer also said that lockdown has taught it to learn to work more flexibly, using the same staff to manage both the food aisles and the clothing section.

Meanwhile, it will be using new technology to replace some management.

M&S expected voluntary redundancies or early retirements would make up the majority of the job cuts.

The retailer added that it planned to create new jobs in online fulfilment, marking a shift in the business.

The announcement was done simultaneously with a trading update, in which M&S booked a 30 % year-on-year drop in clothing and home sales in the past eight weeks since its stores reopened.

Actual store sales plunged 48 % in that same period since exiting lockdown, but online sales surged 39 % year-on-year, boosted by 1.9 million new active customers since the start of the year.

Meanwhile, the last 13 weeks total food sales were up 2.5 %.

“In May we outlined our plans to learn from the crisis, accelerate our transformation and deliver a stronger, more agile business in a world in which some customer habits were changed forever,” M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said.

“Three months on and our Never the Same Again programme is progressing; albeit the outlook is uncertain and we remain cautious.

“As part of our Never The Same Again programme to embed the positive changes in ways of working through the crisis, we are today announcing proposals to further streamline store operations and management structures.

“These proposals are an important step in becoming a leaner, faster business set up to serve changing customer needs and we are committed to supporting colleagues through this time.”

M&S is not alone in its plans to scrap thousands of jobs as many retailers continue to turn to cost-cutting strategies amid the pandemic.

Last week, department store chain Debenhams confirmed plans to make 2500 redundancies as part of its latest cost-cutting drive to survive the crisis.

On Monday, M&S ramped up the competition against major UK grocers by promoting its ‘everyday prices’ as part of its transformation strategy.

The retailer spent months developing a range of food products to transform its image and convince households to do their regular food shop at its stores.

From this week, M&S will launch its “remarksable” campaign which will show customers that 240 of its grocery staples are now at everyday prices.