UK retailer Marks & Spencer axes 7,000 jobs on virus fallout

Photo from: Marks & Spencer FB page

By: Rappler

Marks & Spencer, the British retail chain selling clothes and food, is to cut around 7,000 jobs as the coronavirus pandemic increasingly pushes customers to shop online.

The job cuts, to be carried out over the next three months, include losses from its central support center, in regional management, and in its United Kingdom stores, M&S said in a statement.

Marks employs more than 80,000 staff, of whom the vast majority work in the UK.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said the company would become a “leaner, faster business set up to serve changing customer needs.”

Alongside the job cuts, M&S “expects to create a number” of positions to help the group meet a surge in online demand for its products.

While total group sales slumped by around one-fifth in the 19 weeks to August 8 – which included most of the period Britain was in lockdown – online revenue surged nearly 40%.

The company joins the likes of UK department store chains Debenhams and John Lewis, as well as pharmacy group Boots, in cutting thousands of jobs owing to fallout from COVID-19.

Even though the UK economy is beginning to rebound as the government eases strict confinement measures – gross domestic product grew by 8.7% in June – analysts expect a surge in unemployment by the end of the year.


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