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

Written by: Emma Lunn
The high street stalwart said in-store sales of clothing and home goods were "well below" 2019 levels, although online and home deliveries were strong.

In a trading update and streamlining announcement, M&S announced that it was beginning a multi-level consultation programme which it anticipates will result in a reduction of about 7,000 rolls over the next three months.

The job losses will include departures from M&S’s central support centre, in regional management, and in its UK stores.

M&S said it expected a significant proportion of the job cuts to be through voluntary departures and early retirement.

It also said it expected to create a number of new jobs over the next year as it invested in online fulfilment and M&S’s new ambient food warehouse.

Steve Rowe, M&S chief executive, said: “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.

“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’s food business has shown good year-on-year growth. In the past 13 weeks total food sales have increased 2.5%.

But clothing and home sales were significantly down, albeit improving. Total revenue in these areas was down 38.5% in the past 13 weeks. In the eight weeks since store re-opening total sales have been down 29.9%, with trends steadily improving.

However, M&S’s online business has continued to perform strongly and is up 39.2% on last year.

M&S said the performance of store sales has varied widely across its portfolio with some of the newer out of town stores trading close to last year’s level of sales overall in recent weeks, but it said legacy town centre stores and some shopping centres are still heavily impacted by social distancing and reduced footfall.

The statement pointed to the closure of many workplaces and lack of social gatherings as the reason why the clothing sales mix has seen a substantial shift from office dressing and formal wear into casual clothing and leisure wear.

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