21 July 2020 08:31
Marks & Spencer has said 950 jobs are at risk as part of plans to reduce store management and head office roles. The high street retailer, which has a store on St Mary Street in Weymouth as well as a number of food stores across Dorset, said the proposals will help move the company to "a leaner, faster retail management structure" as it accelerates its transformation plan after being disrupted by the coronavirus lockdown. M&S said it has now started collective consultation with employee representatives and has set out plans to first offer voluntary redundancy to affected staff. It said the cuts are set to impact roles in the company's head office, property and store management areas. It comes after a bloodbath on the high street in the face of coronavirus, with the likes of John Lewis, Boots and Debenhams announcing thousands of job cuts.
In May, chief executive Steve Rowe said the company would be accelerating parts of its transformation plan with a programme dubbed Never The Same Again. M&S told investors that "central support costs and headcount will be examined at all levels" as part of the plan. The retailer's food stores continued to trade throughout the lockdown period, but trading in other part of its business, such as clothing, was significantly reduced. Sacha Berendji, director of retail, operations and property at M&S, said: "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. "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." Shares in the company slumped by 2% to 96.8p after it announced the proposals.