Selfridges joins a growing list of retailers that have announced business restructures, store closures or job cuts as a result of the pandemic.
Selfridges has told staff it plans to cut 450 jobs as it warned annual sales are expected to be “significantly less” than last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The luxury department store, which contains an FAO Schwartz shop-in-shop, said it would reduce its total workforce by 14% to cope with the impact of the virus and another potential lockdown.
In a message to staff, group managing director Anne Pitcher warned the recovery would be “slow”, stressing 2020 will be “the toughest year we have experienced in our recent history”. She also said the retail sector was changing even before Covid-19 hit the UK, and that Selfridges was now forced to make important changes.
Anne commented: “As you would expect at such a critical time, we have been carefully examining every aspect of our business – our structures, our costs, our ways of working – from top to bottom, leaving no stone unturned to ensure we are fit for purpose and the future. This has involved reviewing all non-essential expenses as well as pausing projects and initiatives where prudent to do so. The task ahead is significant and, as we look to reinvent retail and prepare to build back, we will need to go further.”
She added: “As a family business, the hardest decisions are the ones that affect our people, which is why it pains me to share news today of the toughest decision we have ever had to take that we will, very regrettably, need to make a 14% net reduction in our overall headcount, approximately 450 roles.”
Staff who are still on furlough have been promised that their circumstances will have no effect on whether their role would be impacted. More information for staff is expected over the coming days.
Selfridges joins a growing list of retailers that have announced business restructures, store closures or job cuts as a result of the pandemic, including Burberry and Harrods, which announced 500 and 700 job cuts respectively, as well as John Lewis which announced major store closures earlier this month..
Selfridges operates four stores: two in Manchester, one in Birmingham and the Oxford Street flagship in London.