The retailer’s chief executive puts blame on social distancing requirements and lack of tourists.
Harrods has reportedly told employees that one in seven of its 4,800 staff would be affected by job cuts because of the ‘ongoing impacts of this pandemic’.
The London department store undertook a major revamp of its toy department back in 2018, moving it to the fourth floor and working with the design team at Farshid Moussavi to create a space which it says has adult-friendliness at its heart. Instead of a single open space in which all toys are presented at once, the redesigned gender-neutral toy department is organised as a suite of eight rooms, each dedicated to a particular toy category. A pop-up area allows for brand takeovers and major product launches, with Pokémon and L.O.L. Surprise! most recently making use of the space.
Despite all this, the retailer has been far from immune from the impacts of Covid-19. In a note to Harrods staff, chief executive, Michael Ward, blamed the staff cuts on social distancing and lack of tourists. He said: “The necessary social-distancing requirements to protect employees and customers is having a huge impact on our ability to trade, while the devastation in international travel has meant we have lost key customers coming to our store and frontline operations.”
Jobs in parts of the store that remain closed, including beauty services and cafes, are expected to be among those to go.