Shop Direct Group, owner of retail brands Littlewoods, Very & Isme, has opened redundancy talks with almost 50 of its head office staff members, according to reports.
Thisismoney.co.uk claims that the job cuts effect the buying and merchandising division within the business, and came as a complete surprising to staff when they were informed last week.
According to a spokesman for the retail group, “dramatic changes” to the way the business operates have forced Shop Direct into cutting jobs.
It is thought that these “changes” refer to the rising importance of its online operations, with three quarters of its revenues coming from online now whereas five years ago e-sales accounted for just a fifth of all of it business.
Sales over the Christmas period were strong for the group – up nine per cent year-on-year – but it has been predicting for some time that trading would be more difficult during 2012.
After investing heavily in international expansion and marketing during the second half of last year, the business was hit by the departure of two senior staff members in successive months.
In December group Chief Operating Officer Dave Poole was poached by rent-to-buy specialist Brighthouse and then in January CEO Mark Newton-Jones announced his intention to step down from his position.