Coronavirus: Marks and Spencer to cut 950 jobs amid pandemic

Coronavirus: Marks and Spencer to cut 950 jobs amid pandemic

Marks and Spencer has announced plans to axe 950 jobs as it becomes the latest UK retailer to restructure in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company said would be cutting store management and head office roles as it accelerates a move towards a “leaner, faster” workforce.

M&S has started collective consultation with employee representatives and will initially offer voluntary redundancy to affected staff.

The cuts are the latest in a bloodbath on the high street, with the likes of John Lewis, Boots and Debenhams announcing thousands of job losses after coronavirus forced stores to close and hit sales.

M&S food shops continued remained open throughout the UK’s lockdown, but trade was significantly reduced in other part of its business, such as clothing.

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. He warned some customer habits have “changed forever” as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

M&S previously told investors that “central support costs and headcount will be examined at all levels” as part of the plan.

Sacha Berendji, director of retail, operations and property at M&S, said on Monday: “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 FTSE 250 company slumped by 2 per cent to 96.8p after it announced the proposals.

Last year the firm was demoted from the FTSE 100 for the first time since the index was created 35 years ago after its value fell below the threshold for inclusion in the top tier of UK-listed businesses.

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