UK Retailer Marks & Spencer to Cut 950 Jobs Due to Pandemic

July 20, 2020 Updated: July 21, 2020

British clothing and food retailer Marks & Spencer announced on Monday it will cut 950 jobs, in the latest blow to the country’s retail sector from the CCP virus crisis.

The restructuring will affect 950 roles in central support functions in field and central operations and property and store management, M&S said in a statement. The aim is to reduce management layers.

M&S has started collective consultation with its workforce and has set out its intention to first offer voluntary redundancy to affected employees.

The cuts are part of the firm’s move to a “leaner, faster retail management structure” in the wake of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus crisis, the company said, noting that while some consumer habits will return to normal, other have been changed forever.

“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,” Sacha Berendji, director of Retail, Operations and Property at M&S, 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.”

Britain’s retailers, already struggling with high rents, business taxes, tight margins, and online competition, were particularly hammered by the coronavirus lockdown.

Department store chain John Lewis has announced it will close eight stores with a possible loss of 1,300 jobs, and health and beauty retailer Boots has said it will cut 4,000 jobs and close 48 optician stores.

The employment situation is set to deteriorate further once the government-backed furlough scheme comes to an end in October, analysts say.

Reuters contributed to this report.