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M&S accelerates restructuring due to COVID-19 hit

950 roles among in-store management and at head office are at risk, retailer confirms.

Marks & Spencer has this morning (July 20) confirmed that 950 roles among in-store management and at head office are at risk, as the retailer accelerates its restructuring due to the hit to trading caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The retailer – which was already undergoing a restructuring including cutting costs and closing some stores – said the measures would be accelerated under a programme called ‘Never The Same Again’ as it looks to make ‘three years’ progress in one’.

At its full-year results in May, M&S outlined plans to integrate more flexible management structures into its store operations. The new retail management structure will be fit for the future, the retailer said this morning, removing role duplication, providing clearer leadership accountabilities and freeing up its retail teams to focus more on the customer.

“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,” said Sacha Berendji, director of retail, operations and property at M&S. “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.”

While M&S’ food stores remained open during lockdown, other parts of the business were severely impacted. Clothing sales, for example, fell by 84% year on year at the lowest point.

The M&S news follows a wave of redundancies on the high street for big name retailers which stock licensed product, with John Lewis, Boots and Debenhams among those announcing cuts.

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